Challenge, Coordination, and Collaboration for Effective Rural Mobility Solutions

Challenge, Coordination, and Collaboration for Effective Rural Mobility Solutions

Kate Pangbourne (Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1614-0.ch004

Abstract

In this chapter, the author argues that mobility as a service (or MaaS) as a principal means of accessing transport may make it difficult to meet existing policy aims for sustainable mobility that addresses the climate change crisis and demographic trends. Strong governance will be needed to design MaaS for these challenges whilst addressing existing and future social injustices. Furthermore, without determined coordination, an inherent individualism at the heart of many current formulations of MaaS privileges urban areas with existing multimodal options and risks further excluding rural environments. Drawing on examples from Europe and beyond, concerns regarding the ability to assess unanticipated undesirable impacts of transport innovations that are MaaS-like in character are highlighted and discussed. How might authorities collaborate with each other and MaaS brokers to provide low carbon accessibility in rural areas?
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Theoretical Perspective And Method

In this chapter the author argues that the challenge to be addressed by MaaS differs between rural and urban settings. The objective is to show whether the potential for MaaS to benefit rural areas could be undermined by unanticipated outcomes from MaaS if too much trust is placed on the current claims regarding MaaS. These claims tend to either be aspatial (ignoring geographic factors) or they specifically refer to urban issues. Furthermore, these claims tend to be biased to being pro-MaaS, as rhetorical persuasion is identified as an important mechanism in how new technologies are taken up in society, by controlling the public discussion around what challenges technological solutions such as MaaS are intended to address (Berkhout, 2006).

Pangbourne, Stead, Mladenovic and Stead (in press) have closely examined this type of rhetoric in relation to the governance challenges posed by MaaS. This chapter carries out a similar exercise in relation to issues specific to rural settings. The author asked the research question “What are the priorities that need to be addressed in defining objectives for rural MaaS?” This question is addressed through a synthesis of facts about the current state of MaaS development, with a qualitative analysis of MaaS promotional and information documents to understand the degree to which rural areas are specifically addressed, followed by a consideration of rural need in light of seven core characteristics of MaaS (Jittrapirom et al., (2017) see below). This argument is underpinned by the background section which surveys academic literature about rural issues, including transport.

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