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MOBILITY MANAGEMENT IN SMALLER TOWNS

Cathrine Borg has done a really interesting Ph.D. project about the possibilities and challenges of implementing the concept of mobility management in a mobility strategy for smaller towns in Region of Southern Denmark. She explains the following about the project:

The ability to be mobile in everyday life is at the core of contemporary society. This demand applies both to the inhabitants in larger cities in urban areas and in smaller towns in non-urban areas. However, the access to different means of transportations differs within these areas, since there is an overweight of public means of transportation as an alternative to private car use in urban areas. This presents challenges for the mobility in smaller towns that lately have experienced societal changes such as the municipality reform and further process of centralisation, thus increasing the distances to places such as schools, hospitals and city halls. Consequently, these circumstances have initiated a depopulation of the smaller towns in non-urban areas towards urbanised areas.

As opposed to addressing these conditions from a conventional transport planning and technical perspective this Ph.D. project will apply a sociological mobility perspective on the issue of mobility in smaller towns of non-urban areas. This approach employs an understanding of social life in contemporary society through different modes of mobility. Hence, this project sets out to investigate and uncover the social life and travel patterns in three strategically chosen smaller towns in non-urban areas of Region of Southern Denmark, in order to develop a set of means for a strategy of mobility in this context, by emphasising the concept of mobility management.

Accordingly, the focus of this Ph.D. project is centred on the concept of mobility management and the focus on engendering more sustainable mobility patterns by means such as car sharing, travel plans and instruments for coordinating car pooling. In order to achieve a thorough understanding of contextual relations and gain a realistic insight into the everyday life and mobility situation of the inhabitants living in these towns field work and qualitative methods will be carried out to explore what role mobility management can play in a non-urban context, and whether this can help to prevent the bleak future that is presented in the argument, that smaller non-urban towns only will survive as such, if they are placed near an approach to or exit from a motorway.

In sum, the Ph.D. project will bridge the research fields of mobility management and non-urban areas by investigating the possibilities and limitations of a strategy of mobility management in smaller towns in non-urban areas of Region of Southern Denmark.