Stronger Combined makes work trips in Region Värmland, Sweden, more sustainable
You have previously read about the Region Värmland pilot area of Fagerås. This is however not the only pilot that Region Värmland is running as part of the Stronger Combined project. The second pilot focuses on Arvika, a middle sized town of Värmland county. In Sweden the regions often take on the role of both public transport authority and health care provider. Region Värmland is no exception. Appart from the central hospital in the region capital Karlstad, local hospitals can be found spread throughout Värmland whereof one can be found in Arvika.
Looking at the work trips and the usage of the work carpool that is provided at Arvika hospital it can be seen that a lot of travel is not only towards Karlstad’s central hospital but also the regional administrational office in Karlstad which is located within walking distance from the hospital. There are also patterns showing that trips are mostly conducted by pool cars and generally are started within short intervals in the morning to return during various times during the day, a drive that takes approx. 1 hour from point A to B.
Arvika is well connected to Karlstad by train with trains departing hourly and with a travel time of approx. 45 min. A good offer considering that the train offers the possibility to utilise the travel time for work as the train offers both power sockets and a WiFi connection. A problem with this alternative that we gathered from the focus group at Arvika hospital is that the Arvika hospital is located almost 3 km away from the train station which acts as a deterrent. There is a local bus that operates between the train station and arvika hospital however, it is poorly connected with the train schedule.
As a measure to try combined mobility and venture into new types of cooperation Region Värmland public transport intends to introduce a pool of e-bikes with smart lockers that are bookable and easy to use, in order to create a seamless overall journey. The situation is similar at the Karlstad end as well where the region also envions providing a similar bike pool. Hopefully this first mile last mile solution of combined mobility is enough to persuade staff to choose a more sustainable pattern of travel. This solution of course will lengthen the journey slightly, however, overall it has a similar travel time as choosing the pool car alternative if parking and congestion is accounted for. At the same time this new sustainable travel option is both more environmentally friendly while also being more efficient from the employers point of view, as it allows employees to work during their travels. The Stronger Combined project will therefore provide the opportunity to chose sustainable, efficient and seamless travel option in a rural context.
As with all projects the situation in the world regarding Covid-19 is affecting this pilot and it has been put on hold until further notice to allow the health care parter to fully focus on the treatment and handeling of the pandemic.