In the region of Kreis Euskirchen, events such as trainings and trouble-shooting tours ("mobility checks") helped the local SmartMove partner forge community ties that were key to project success.
By October partner Verkehrsverbund Rhine-Sieg (VRS) had reached the target of 500 household participants in the local active mobility campaign (AMC). But success didn’t come easily, and active measures turned out to be key.
As a first gambit, VRS sent out 4,300 mailings urging residents of four target communities (Bad Münstereifel, Hellenthal, Kall, and Schleiden) to take part in the AMC. But by the end of summer, that effort had netted just 300 participants. VRS made an extra push, including an additional 1,000 mailings in an effort to meet target.
In parallel, VRS pushed on with a series of passenger trainings on public buses, started in the spring and extending to October. For this, VRS coattailed onto existing public events, for instance the Kräutermarkt in Bad Münstereifel. They also organised self-standing trainings with the support of citizen groups, for instance the senior-citizens group Netzwerk an Urft und Olef.
VRS also held six mobility check in which VRS consulted with bus users about physical barriers to bus use, including difficulties reaching bus stops with walking frames. Besides these, two „citizen audits“ were held, one on the transport needs of new inhabitants, the other on the needs of tourists.
By October, the Kreis Euskirchen AMC had the required 500 willing participants and had delivered information and gift packages to almost half of them.
Concerning lessons learned, VRS noted that people are generally open to using public transport, but that they need relevant information, e.g. timetables, ticket prices and availability, and advice on how to use public transport.
VRS acknowledged that recruiting AMC participants with announcement letters was difficult, whereas active measures such as bus trainings and citizen audits were very successful. A big advantage is that they allowed VRS to establish a collaborative relationship with local citizens networks. Such collaboration is key to reach the people in rural areas and to draw their attention to public transport.