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SUSTANCE Project: improving public transport for rural and cross-border communities

On 29 September the Transnational Online Conference Challenges and opportunities for public transport stakeholders in rural, peripheral and cross-border areas took place as a significant step toward enhancing sustainable public transport mobility in rural, peripheral, and cross-border areas.

Coordinated by the CEI-Executive Secretariat, as the Lead partner of the SUSTANCE project, the conference gathered a diverse mix of experts, government representatives, and stakeholders from the public transport sector, to examine the challenges and opportunities that residents in these regions face.

The event kicked off with the endorsement from Mr. Valter Flego, Member of the European Parliament and words from representatives from the Ministries of Infrastructure and transport of Italy and Croatia as well as from the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Energy of Slovenia.

Authorities recognised the necessity of providing better access to sustainable public transport solutions in low-populated and cross-border areas in line with the scope of mitigating the environmental impact of private car use. In this regard, speakers also emphasised the importance of supporting actions aimed at changing citizens’ travel habits.

EIT Urban mobility presented several ICT tools addressing the above-mentioned challenges and highlighting how digitalisation is a key factor for improving public transport accessibility.

Coordinators from the macro-regional strategies EUSAIR (Pillar 2) and EUSDR (Priority Area 1b) pointed out that improving connectivity within and between countries often serves to create a bridge between areas, fostering ties and exchanges, which is particularly important when it comes to non-EU countries.

The conference further gathered speakers from projects such as DREAM_PACE, TRANSBORDERS and SMACKER with the intent to capitalise on lessons learned and to foster synergies among the actors in the same field.

The event closed with the intervention by Mr Winfried Ritt, from the Interreg Central Europe Programme, who underscored the importance of cooperation, synergies, and dialogue, especially at cross-border level.

SUSTANCE Stakeholders will reconvene in each region in February for a round table discussion to showcase the results of public transport accessibility analysis and illustrate how the six pilot actions could improve public transport governance schemes at cross-border level.

The SUSTANCE project is co-financed by the Interreg Central Europe programme.

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