The second MAMBA seminar in Vejle, Denmark – 21/2/2019

What’s it all about?

MAMBA stands for: Mobility. Accessibility. Innovation. A project looking to get in touch with new partners and exchange knowledge on rural mobility. In order to do so, the project offers a series of seminars for you to join. The first one took place in Riga, Latvia, with a focus on rural mobility innovation.

Or as the MAMBA website describes it:

(c) Mpact @ MAMBA seminar

“Rural mobility innovations are rather an offspring of local, sometimes noncommercial initiatives and satisfy different demand patterns. Rural mobility innovations are possible, yet they are hampered by various obstacles. Many of them are structural or legal constraints (just think of the legal barriers to non-commercial car-sharing or combining people-to-service and service-to-people). Another major issue is that too often, innovations tried and tested in the urban context get applied one-on-one to rural regions (where they do not reach their full potential) instead of developing genuine rural approaches.”

Not only did I join as a speaker in the discussion panel on “Barriers and enablers of innovation in rural mobility”, I also learned how a simple, rural carsharing initiative improved the mobility for a group of neighbours. During lunch break, I visited a bus that was rebuild into a mobile doctor’s cabinet for sick children, improving the accessibility to social services for several rural villages in Latvia.

I also participated in the interactive concept of “World cafés”, to inspire and to get inspired about the social, economic and local dimension to foster innovation in rural mobility.

The second seminar was organised in Vejle, Denmark, at the end of February. This seminar focussed more on bottom up grassroot initiatives. I’ll be glad to share the information here below!

The third one will take place in Finland on the 5th of June, where I hope to be meeting you as well. So do save the date and keep an eye on the MAMBA website for further information.

A closer look on the topics of the second seminar…

The Danish model for demand-controlled driving

The first grassroot initiative was presented by the Regional Public Transport Organization Sydtrafik operating in the southernmost part of Jutland, which covers 11 Danish municipalities. It provides the routed bus transport and flextrafik, yet outsources the operation (and ownership) of the busses and cars to private operators. A concrete flextrafik solution is Plustur, offering first and last mile solutions to bus and other modes of transport.

This system provides a great learning platform for the mobihubs as to offer  transport on demand solutions in the Flanders Region. With the 31 million monthly hits in their routeplanner, it has proven to be quite successful.

(c) Sydtrafik statistics

Regardless of the distance, a passenger will always pay a fixed amount, the municipality will cover the rest. I wondered whether this proved to be a lucrative business model…

(c) Mpact vzw

“This transport on demand system has quite the cost price for the municipality. Yet by closing down some expensive buslines, it’s possible to recover these costs made. It’s a fantastic product and works really good, since we’re also able to offer a better service.” 

– Dan Zoega-Nielsen from Vejle Municipality.

Ride share and peer-to-peer freight service as a mobility solution for local communities

The second grassroot initiative NABOGO, which literally translates into “the neighbour on the go”, was my personal favourite. This sharing platform was launched in 2017 for neighbours to share their resources. “Mobility is at the heart of many of our largest problems”  And the environment and communities are suffering. The biggest groups that suffer from lack of mobility are the young, the old and the poor. So we’re keen to discover what we could do about this…

Number of cars in Denmark by Nabogo

(c) Nabogo

The service offers 3 products that should make the living in a rural context more attractive:

(c) NaboGO

  • NABOLIFT: carpooling in rural and urban context (thanks to the financial support of a municipality or company)
  • NABOFRAGT: peer-to-peer freight services to help move goods around (bringing goods from the city for the less mobile, removing garden waste, …)
  • NABOTRAILER: peer-to-peer trailer sharing (for all types of trailers)

For Mpact, the innovative carpooling idea, as flexible solution with lifts in and out of the city road ring of Vejle and to other villages, was quite inspiring. It’s not just applicable for one village, but for every village where everything is within walking distance within the road ring: in Denmark, in Belgium, even everywhere in Europe.

We do love the innovative idea of NABOLIFT to work with NaboStops, which are virtual carpool stops (like busstops) to hop on and off a carpool lift. By also sharing the travel information on public transport as a possible solution in the app, it makes the connection with bus and train more accessible. Having real carpool stops (e.g. in combination with a busstop) will even reinforce the carpooling trend.

The key to success is to integrate the solution in the community, with the municipality, the local stores, local stakeholders… There is a strong need for ambassadors to support the start-up of the system. Though there needs to be a willingness to make the change; thanks to the technology of the smartphone, much has been made more accessible.

NABOGO knows the people are ready for this and is currently hosting interviews to see how they can launch the system. Mpact is curiously looking forward to the results.

ABCD – Asset Based Community Development

The third grassroot initiative focuses on citizen involvement and participation. It’s important to help people find solutions that work for them and their local community.

Resource based proces for Asset Based Community Development

(c) Asset Based Community Development

It’s reassuring to hear how conclusions from the Quality Neighbourhood project are confirmed by the findings of the MAMBA project. The importance of getting all stakeholders on board for the success of a citizen participation project was well emphasized… It felt like listening to myself.

In this type of discourse (on mobility behaviour change .e.g.) it’s important to focus on the solutions and on what you wish to achieve.

IMPLEMENTATION – B4R Future Camp Mobility Method

After the lunchbreak we split up in 2 groups to join in the world café table discussions. We used the B4R method which covers the following steps:

  • First we reflect on the topic: “what is rural mobility” and we come to a self-definition of the term “rural mobility”
  • We also found the common goals: rural municipalities are in need of a generalised organisation structure.
  • Next we tossed ideas around as to cocreate a protoype. I’m not sure we found our prototype, but the discussion brought up a few interesting points.
  • The last steps, we reserved for future actions: implement this output, evaluate and fill in the final gaps.

(c) B4R Future Camp Method MAMBA seminar

“The Future Camp Mobility Method is a goal orientated step-by-step process. It is a comprehensive way to interact in order to reach a goal or to solve a problem in a certain topic and spatial context under certain conditions. It is more than a plan…”

So enough said about plans and methods, I’m looking forward to some action…. Just like Jakob:

MAMBA seminar Vejle

MAMBA seminar Vejle

“The inspiring, open talk during the world cafés got everyone quite motivated. The many nationalities and backgrounds brought together insured that the transnational exchange was quite amazing. I’m already looking forward to the next session.”

– Jakob Marcks

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