G-PaTRA Project Extension 2021-2023

19 July 2021 - Published by Lyndsay Bloice

The G-PaTRA project has been granted a project extension and will now run until 2023. Since it's inception, the project has been exploring how to reduce CO2 from rural passenger transport.

A new workpackage - WP6 - has been created and will be led by Provincie Drenthe. There are a number of new deliverables proposed, in addition to work which builds on prior G-PaTRA activity.

The case for additional funding for new activities arose from four interrelated factors:

1) Partner appetite for more transnational activity - G-PaTRA has been genuinely transnational, and we want to continue to collaborate effectively in addressing and sharing knowledge on the issues, challenges and opportunities that have emerged in demonstrating how we can reduce CO2 from rural passenger transport.

2) Supply side innovation - The earlier stages of G-PaTRA were primarily about looking at innovations that could lower CO2 from passenger transport operations. One of the key lessons emerging from this work is that the technology and social acceptance are not the most significant barriers to the wider transferability and scaling up of low carbon transport innovation (the technology generally works, and people can generally be encouraged to engage with innovative solutions), it is the institutional and operational change that is difficult to negotiate. Just as we need demonstration projects that embrace the latest drivetrain or planning software technology, we need demonstration projects on the supply side. Therefore, we are working on demonstration lighthouse projects for the extension projects that consider supply side challenges in their design, including:

  • (Provincie Drenthe) Pilot shared mobility in rural areas by offering zero emission shared cars at the hub network.
  • (Provincie Drenthe) Flexible inclusive transport systems through smart use of data in the Publiek Vervoer dashboard.
  • (Provincie Drenthe) boosting use of transport hubs across the province of Drenthe.
  • (Aberdeenshire) Development of an app for DRT services; with implementation of back-up bus and other systems to aid the transition of elderly and mobility impaired
  • (HITRANS) procurement of an app based solution for demand responsive transport in Island communities
  • (Taxistop) Collection of data about changes in travel behaviour since COVID focusing on elderly transport, volunteer drivers and carpooling

3) Demand led innovation - The learning from G-PaTRA, amplified through the lens of COVID, has demonstrated that we need a less technocratic solutions looking for a problem approach to low carbon transport. As well as technology, we need demonstration projects that are based on a better understanding of what passengers want and trust and that low carbon transport innovation should be – at least partly – bottom up and demand led. The demonstration lighthouse projects proposed for the extension projects that aim to reduce CO2 and enhance the journey making experience are:

  • (Amt für regionale Landesentwicklung Leine-Weser) Simulations to create virtual demonstrations for different services, in association with a local university of applied science
  • (Amt für regionale Landesentwicklung Leine-Weser) – Workshops and public relations to accompany a pilot of the On-Demand-Service
  • (Mpact) – Adjustments to On-demand transport service to attract new (younger) volunteer drivers, integrate bike services, and integrate car- and taxi-sharing
  • (Mpact) – New rural carpool service for mobihub-to-mobihub transport, integrating existing realtime carpool feature and physical carpool spots at mobihubs

4) COVID-19 - COVID was particularly disruptive to passenger transport and to rural passenger transport in particular. Consequently, the COVID experiences and learning of G-PaTRA partners has resulted in a desire across the partnership to explore the potential of demand responsive transport and car sharing as a low carbon solution to the challenge of providing demand-led transport to the over 65’s and other vulnerable groups. A transnational COVID workshop will see partners share experience of and knowledge about these challenges. 

Following the workshop, RGU and Urban Foresight will develop a report setting policy scenarios and pathways towards a new normal low carbon passenger transport and a use case for how this roadmap could be applied by a municipality in Scotland. In addition, Aalborg University will conduct studies of the effect of COVID on rural transport in two Danish communities, Kongerslev and Sønderborg, through the distribution, collection and analysis of questionnaires to residents.