INTERCONNECT project submitted to South Baltic Programme

On 16th December 2016 a partnership led by Region Blekinge submitted a joint project to break the car dependence trend in the South Baltic area.

Better and more sustainable public transport services for regional and cross-border travels have a key role in curbing the car-reliant mobility trend in the South Baltic area. The current offer of the public transport hardly meets customer expectations for easiness and attractivity of regional and cross-border journeys, with scarce range of integrated ticket options for multimodal rides, difficult access to one-spot passenger information and no clear benefits for users when choosing the public transport over car.

A number of stakeholders teamed up in a seed project financed by the Swedish Institute to address this challenge. Through a series of thematic seminars an international network of professionals dealing with policy-making and management in the area of public transport was built to identify the shared problems and agree on the way to address them.

A common obstacle faced by planners and managers of public transport is that market incentives and promotion campaigns in the local and regional communities to change travel behaviour are not effective if not based on well-identified preferences, needs and expectations for no-car mobility – not only now but also in the years to come. Although many good public transport services and products in the South Baltic area are available locally, they are very scattered and the good practice has never been effectively exchanged. Also, the lack of cross-sectoral dialogue hinders exploiting the potential of the public transport services to stimulate socio-economic growth, e.g. by contributing to more competitive labour markets and tourism.

The seed project helped set the direction for further activities and submit a project application to the Interreg South Baltic Programme. The enlarged partnership, consisting now of 9 organisations from 6 countries and se-eral associated bodies, intends to enhance sustainable cross-border mobility in the South Baltic area through joint capacity-building, pilot demonstration and advocacy actions for high quality and sustainable regional and cross-border public transport services.

If approved by the Programme’s Monitoring Committee in May 2017, the project will map the current and future mobility needs for in the South Baltic area and help the public transport organisations and public authorities respond to them with adequate services and products, such as joint ticketing and information solutions for cross-border travels between the partner areas. In addition, the project will connect the stakeholders representing various competence sectors of relevance to the public transport, towards a more systematic cooperation in the South Baltic area.

Project partnership boasts a wide, diverse partnership of Region Blekinge (Lead Partner, SE); Self-government of the Pomorskie Region (PL); The Hanseatic Institute for Entrepreneurship and Regional Development at the University of Rostock (DE); Hanseatic City of Rostock (DE); Municipality of Guldborgsund (DK); Klaipeda Public Transport Authority (LT); Blekinge Institute of Technology (SE); Euroregion Baltic International Secretariat (PL) and Viimsi Municipality (EE).

The project will run between June 2017 – May 2020 with the total budget of ca. 3,5 MEUR.