Smiling older woman wearing glasses at bus station standing in front of a blue bus holding a ticket in her hands, Sweden

Integration of the needs of various user groups is essential when aiming to achieve the provision of environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable mobility solutions in rural areas. Photo: Johner Images / Getty Images .

This study used grey literature to identify and categorise novel mobility solutions, which have been applied in European rural areas and are suitable for travelling longer distances. By using six service flexibility variables, the authors reached four categories of novel mobility solutions: semi-flexible demand-responsive transport, flexible door-to-door demand-responsive transport, car-sharing, and ride-sharing.

The research analysed the social inclusivity, economic viability, and environmental impacts of those categories based on criteria and evidence identified from scholarly literature by including the perspectives of both permanent and temporary residents of rural areas.

The authors of the study concluded that integration of the needs of various user groups is essential when aiming to achieve the provision of environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable mobility solutions in rural areas. Their findings revealed that while single novel mobility solutions are seldom applicable for all rural travellers, strong spatial and temporal synergies exist when combining different solutions.

The need for a connected and flexible set of mobility solutions sensitive to the temporal and spatial patterns of mobility needs is inevitable. Accessible and easily understandable information on routing, booking, and ticketing systems, as well as cooperation, shared values, and trust between various parties, are key success factors for sustainable rural mobility.