Public Transport Interconnecting Sustainable Tourism Routes and destinations in the SB area
The project idea springs from the recently finalized Interreg South Baltic project Interconnect. That project resulted in an established network for cross-border public transport (PT) planning as well as developed user-friendly tools for cross-border travel by PT. The network identified the potential to apply PT project result on the sustainable tourism business, with focus on rural areas since the lack of a holistic view on sustainable public transport planning applied on the tourism sector was identified as a problem hampering development.
The aim of this project is to prepare for an Action Plan for a cross-sectoral committed partnership focusing on seamless cross-border public transport applied to the tourism sector. The project will prepare an extended project application for final implementation where funding from Interreg South Baltic programme is of certain interest.
The project involves six partners with Region Blekinge (SE) as coordinating part together with Blekinge Institute of Technology (SE), Innobaltica (PL), The Association of Sea Cities and Municipalities (PL), Association of Klaipėda region municipalities (LT), Тhe State Enterprise of the Kaliningrad region “Avtovokzal” (RU). The partnership is integrated in the political platform Euroregion Baltic, with Region Blekinge assigned to lead mobility core issues. a.
Total budget 489 TSEK part financed by Seed Funding from Swedish Institute for Baltic Sea Cooperation
The project will for example use workshops for demonstration of already developed tools, create technical roadmaps for system development, organize stakeholder seminars with tourism sector and define a vision for the planned solution.
The past year was the final and firmly the busiest year for the Interreg
South Baltic Interconnect project which started in June 2017. 2020 began with
some great news from one of the project partners, Innobaltica (Poland), who
announced an open tender for the implementation of FALA – integrated ticket for
the Pomorskie Region – a charges
collecting system for transportation in collective passenger transport and a
consistent passenger information system, standard for both coordinators and
On February 17th the Interconnect project was presented on a hearing
regarding the revision of the TEN-T regulation held by Ministry of Infrastructure in Sweden. During the
conference, the Interconnect project Manager Mr Mattias Andersson, representing
Region Blekinge, had an opportunity to emphasise the importance of cross-border
public transport. The collaboration between Blekinge and Pomorskie Region in
the Interconnect project was set as a good example where regions collaborate
with private players, in this case, Stena Line, to find new ticket solutions.
In March 2020, the South Baltic success story series, developed within
ERB’s Umbrella project, noted the Interconnect project as an example of Interreg South
Baltic Programme success story, offering an understanding of the best practices
and the success of the project’s results and outcomes.
On March 11th 2020, a first partnership meeting was held in Karlskrona,
Sweden. Due to the travel restrictions following the Covid -19 pandemic, only ten
persons participated in Region Blekinge office, and two persons experienced
online. During this meeting, partners discussed the multigovernance
co-operation model for public transport in the South Baltic area, the main
outputs of the project, and the project’s final conference details. The
partnership has submitted a request for changes where additional activities were
mentioned and a prolongation of the implementation period of 6 months until the
end of November 2020. Furthermore, a decision was made to postpone the final
conference to preliminary October 1st 2020, instead of May 7th and
most likely to hold it online.
At the turn of March and April 2020, Joint Secretariat agreed on the project’s
prolongation by six months while Monitoring Committee approved all requests for
With the begging of June, The Hanseatic Institute for Entrepreneurship and
Regional Development at the University of Rostock (HIE-RO) announced it
is about to deliver an Indicator-based self-evaluation tool in Excel for
public transport planners within the task 4.2 “Implementing a multi-stakeholder
planning model for public transport services”. The tool’s main objective
is to develop an easy-to-use self-evaluation (or monitoring) indicator tool in
Excel that can be used by public transport planners to evaluate the performance
of the local and regional (public) transport system.
and 26th of July, a joint Danish-German exhibition called
“ekspeditioNORD” took place, as part of the German-Danish year of
cultural friendship. The event was co-financed by the Interconnect project on the
principle of supporting co-operation and cross – border interconnections
between local governments and public administrations and civil societies with a
specific focus on educational institutions and schools, culture and tourism
organisations and business co-operations.
In August Mr
Mattias Andersson, Interconnect Project leader was invited by Mukran Port
in Germany to participate in ‘South Baltic Transport
Loops’ project partnership meeting, where he had a chance to speak
about the findings the Interconnect project and discuss the cross-project
the Polish Ministry of Development Fund and Regional Policy has chosen the Interconnect
Project to be promoted as one of the best projects of Interreg South Baltic
Programme 2014-2020. Therefore, a photo session was organised to present the
main goals and achievements of Interconnect Project. The photo session results
were presented in December 2020 in a publication on “15 years of Interreg
programs in Poland”.
Summer period ended up with
information that the first Interconnect scientific paper on ‘PT Data for multi-stakeholder planning and monitoring excel tool for
public transport services’ was accepted for publication at the
CSTFM-conference in Madrid October 2020. The paper resulted from WP 3.5 and
related to a process and solutions for sustainable cross-border and regional
With the beginning of
September, intensive preparations for the upcoming Final Conference started.
The invitation and conference agenda sent to more than 300 people and an
intensive promoting campaign in social media began.
On September 8th, Mr
Mattias Andersson attended the ERB Executive Board meeting. He presented the
idea of establishing a new task force within ERB, concentrated on sustainable
transport issues and related to the Interconnect project’s outputs.
17th, the Project partner Mr Frede Danborg from Guldborgsund Kommune was
invited to become one of the pannelists during the Interreg South Baltic
Programme’s Annual Event celebrating
30 years of Interreg South Baltic. Mr Danborg had a chance to present the Interconnect
project, its objectives and challenges throughout projects lifetime, and
opportunities it has created to impact public transport in small Baltic Sea regions.
1st 2020, the Interconnect Final Conference titled ‘Future of Public Transport
– Trends, Tools, Governance’ was held online via Hop.in the platform. Nearly 100 participants
from 14 countries joined the conference to
take part in many valuable lectures on sustainable
transport, cross-border passenger transport and new solutions
in public transport given by experts
from EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, The Hanseatic Institute
for Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, Innobaltica, Blekinge Institute of Technology and Interreg South Baltic. The participants also had a chance to hear panellists
from ESPON Programme, Interact Programme, Region
Blekinge and Euroregion Baltic discussing and
exchanging experience on various multilevel governance options.
In November, as a
result of several workshops and discussions among project partners and experts
in the transport sector, a Catalogue of Solutions for Sustainable Cross-Border
and Regional Public Transport was finally developed and published on the
The publication was
shortly followed by the Interconnect Final Report on Guidelines on
multilevel governance for Public Transport in the South Baltic Area published
on November 25th 2020.
On November 30th 2020,
partners from Denmark, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, and Viimsi
Municipality in Estonia met for the last time, to sum up, the Interconnect
project results. After 42 months of an exciting and fruitful co-operation, the
Interconnect project partners from 6 EU countries met for the last time to
finalise their work results achieved within the project. During the final
meeting, the project partners had a chance, to sum up, their previous work
& results within the project and share their experience and ideas for
further co-operation. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the meeting was held
online. All the partners expressed their hopes to continue cooperating to
support the development of sustainable public transport, mobility and
connectivity in South Baltic Area.
Finally on December 3rd 2020 during the final ERB Executive Board meeting in 2020 the Board members all agreed to establish another task force in the Euroregion Baltic – Mobility Core Group, which will consist of partners from the Interconnect project, as well as contact persons and experts from the ERB member organisations.
On 3rd December 2020, during the final ERB Executive Board meeting in 2020 and the last one under the Presidency of the Association of Polish Communes Euroregion baltic (PL), the Board members all agreed to establish another task force in the Euroregion Baltic – Mobility Core Group.
The decision was made after the Blekinge Region Board Member – Mr Johan Sandberg, ERB Vice President presented the idea to the ERB Board Members. Blekinge Region will host a secretariat for the newly established group.
The ERB Mobility
Core Group consists of partners from the previous Interreg South Baltic project
Interconnect, as well as contact persons and experts from the ERB member
The group will be working on behalf of the ERB Board with concrete actions and the work is supposed to contribute to project development and common activities improving mobility between the ERB member regions.
The Mobility Core Group will report to a steering group consisting of ERB board members (appointed by the ERB Board). Lobbying activities in order to represent and promote common interests;
Implementation of strategic initiatives and projects complementing the local and regional agendas of the member organisations; and
Exchange activities, to seek a collaborative approach to common challenges and to progress in innovation and in operational efficiency of the cooperation. The Mobility Core Group will focus on activities from the below perspectives.
affecting public transport and sustainability change directions of the local
and regional transport systems in the South Baltic area.
transport planning vs. strategies by private operators (e.g. ferry companies).
to cross-border PT services for rural and more remote areas.
knowledge/awareness of leisure time attractions on ‘the other shore’.
Fighting climate change
fruits’ (new or enhanced methods, services or products developed and/or applied
in the Interconnect project and demonstrating a high replication potential)
perspective of public transport in the local and regional strategic documents
on other sectors
routes – adapted to different target groups
commuting / labour market travel patterns
and youth travel patterns
The Mobility Core Group will apply a Multi-level governance perspective on its activities. The link between TEN-T development and contribution to the EU cohesion policies is considered a week. The focus will be to apply a holistic view on regional mobility and transport planning as a driving force for boosting potentials within other sectors such as tourism, education and business. This approach will strengthen the relationship between public transport, regional development and the citizens.
Actors from each region
The ERB Mobility
Core Group should aim to include members from all nine regions, in six
countries. The basis will be the partnership from the previous Interreg South
Baltic project Interconnect with the possibility to extend the network with
relevant representatives from each of the ERB member organisations. The group
will also invite relevant participants from regions outside the ERB
geographical area ie former Interconnect partners.
Group aims to have physical meetings back to back with the ERB Board meetings.
Those meetings will be complemented by online meetings.
The meetings should aim to identify “hot topics” and “bottlenecks” for further joint development and discussion.
We present here the article from the Interreg South Baltic Programme website prepare for the 30th anniversary of the Interreg.
In 2020 we celebrate 30 years of Interreg. On this occasion, we asked representatives of the Interreg South Baltic Programme projects to share their experiences about the Interreg funds and the cross-border cooperation.
Frede Danborg, the International Coordinator in Guldborgsund Municipality, Denmark, and the project manager for the Interconnect project shares his experience from the perspective of the project’s partner in INTERCONNECT project. Let’s talk about Interreg!
What impact has Interconnect had on Guldborgsund Municipality?
Interconnect has both worked to improve public transport between Rostock, Germany and Guldborgsund Municipality, Denmark.
Interconnect has supported a joint local development and provided exciting opportunities to travel across the Baltic Sea between the two project partners.
Interconnect made it easier to buy the InterCombi ticket online. This is a joint ticket that covers both buses and ferries and makes it easier to travel across the Baltic Sea.
Interconnect has assisted promoting the summer bus between Gedser and Marielyst Tourism Resort and is especially aimed at international tourists crossing the Baltic Sea.
Interconnect has prepared a catalogue of new mobility solutions for the residents of our rural areas so that it will be easier to travel to our main city Nykøbing, which is on the travel route to Rostock and Berlin.
Interconnect has completed more than 10 exchanges within education, culture and tourism as well as business. It has involved more than 150 people from Guldborgsund who have visited Rostock and more than 150 people from Rostock who have visited Guldborgsund.
I believe that this cooperation between local associations, institutions and authorities is an important part of a transport project.
Why is it necessary for International Cooperation to achieve those results?
When it comes to cross-border public transport and common local development as in Interconnect, then it can only happen through international cooperation.
The cooperation with Rostock regarding better transport connections and cooperation for joint development is high on our agenda both in Rostock and here in Guldborgsund Municipality.
But still, the international project is needed to make it actually happen! A joint project is a signal and a message to our organisations and to the surroundings that we prioritise these activities. And it is a starting shoot from our management to implement this cooperation.
What role do you think Interreg projects should have in Denmark and Europe in the coming years?
Interreg projects should develop knowledge and relationships between neighbouring countries and neighbouring regions. And they must involve both local and regional authorities, institutions and associations.
Interreg projects should be broad and reflect local and regional development agendas.
They do not have to be research projects or follow narrow specific business branches or professional themes.
For such purposes, you have already in place the Structural Funds, Horizon 2020 and the thematic programmes based in Brussels.
As a very concrete proposal, Interreg projects could provide opportunities for cooperation in the field of health. Not to develop cancer treatment or COVID-19 vaccine, but so that health and care staff in e.g. municipalities could develop new forms of work and methods within public health and prevention and elderly care.
Among all local and regional authorities, these tasks require great efforts and large budgets. I believe that international cooperation in these areas can change a lot.
What European challenges are particularly important to address in international cooperation?
There are many common European challenges that need international cooperation. Therefore, it is good that the EU has a very wide range of different development and support programmes.
In Interconnect Interreg South Baltic project, we support the idea of sustainable public transport in the South Baltic Sea. See how easy & pleasurable a journey can be in our coproduction video clip, promoting the #InterCombiTicket connection between Rostock and Nykøbing Falster
The past year was a busy time
for all Interconnect project partners, as it was marked by several meetings and
promotion of the project itself.
The 2019 kicked-off with a partnership meeting in
Karlskrona where representatives of Stena Line, Region Blekinge
and Blekingetrafiken discussed one ticket
solution for the ferry passengers travelling without a car between Blekinge
(Sweden) and Pomorskie Region (Poland).
year also, the following meetings were held:
Rostock workshop (11th
The study visit in Klaipeda
Innobaltica workshop in Gdańsk
(10th October )
Karlshamn regional seminar (18th
The study visit and project
partner meeting in Rostock and Warnemunde (6th December)
Furthermore, the Interconnect
project was presented on several events such as
10th Annual Forum of EUSBSR in Gdańsk, or
the ‘Boosting Cross-Border Region through better transport’ conference in
Brussels, where the moderator noted it as one of
the most interesting ongoing cross-border projects.
The biggest event of the past
year was undoubtedly the Interconnect project mid-term conference held on 5th September
2019 in Elbląg. During the meeting, the following thematic fields were defined:
identification of needs of using alternative means of transport to a personal
car, traveller-friendly offer and strengthening cooperation in the field of
public transportation. The conference tackled all of the three areas, but
considering the selection of speakers, it mainly has focused on the cooperation
of different stakeholders in the field of shaping a traveller friendly offer.
The conference was opened by the Mayor of Elbląg, Mr
Witold Wróblewski, who emphasized the growing importance of cooperation between
different stakeholders and cities. Agata Ludwiczak, the representative of the
Euroregion Baltic, presented the aim of the conference, i.e. including the present
condition of public transport integration on the regional level and the
analysis of the experience of other countries in the Baltic Sea Region.
During the conference
regional experts and municipalities representatives presented best-practices
Models for sustainable transport system – Region
tariff and ticketing integration – Innobaltica and Pomeranian Voivodeship;
Integrated transport in the
agglomeration – benchmarks from the operational point of view – Rostock;
The positioning of public
transport integration in Olsztyn and catchment area Warmian-Masurian
One of the main conclusions of the conference
was that the so-called ‘soft projects’ consisting of developing international
cooperation (e.g. INTERCONNECT) constitute an essential foundation for good
practices popularization. They also contribute to the limitation of risk in the
modern innovative solutions development, e.g. in the scope of tariff-ticket
The September conference also resulted in several open information meetings regarding the modern public transport payment system FALA that will revolutionize travelling in Pomorskie Voivodeship and the city of Elbląg. Responsible for the implementation of the project is the Interconnect project partner – Innobaltica. The tender for the implementation of the FALA system in Pomorskie Voivodeship was announced on 20th December.
At the end of the year, another Interconnect partnership meeting took place. On 5th December, in Rostock, the project partners not only discussed past project activities and future challenges of the project but also took part in a very fruitful workshop on the catalogue of solutions for sustainable public transport.
We are pleased to inform you that the Mid-term conference will take place in Elblag on 4th of September 2019 (only for the Project Partners and Association Partners) as a joint event with the Warmia-Mazuria conference on the 5th of September.
We welcome all to join us for the conference on the 5th, please see the agenda below.