The challenge of introducing more environmentally friendly and flexible transport systems across Europe is set to be tackled by experts from the University of Aberdeen.
Key academics from the institution's Centre for Transport Research will play a crucial role in a new €2.6 million project launched today (Monday 1 December) to provide cost effective and sustainable public transport solutions.
The EU funded initiative will focus on the development of flexible transport options which are better tailored towards the needs of individual communities in cities, small towns and rural areas.
Services such as door to door bus travel, shared taxis and car clubs will be examined in the project which brings together 11 local authorities, transport operators and universities from 9 EU regions.
Professor John Nelson, Director of the Centre for Transport Research at the University said: "Modern society's transport needs have developed rapidly alongside changes in lifestyle and there is a clear need for more flexibility in how a person journey's from A to B.
"Whilst the traditional fixed route services are still relevant in more built up areas, there is a growing need to create more flexible transport options for people in rural communities or areas where transport demand is not as high.
"The initiative will look at environmentally friendly and cost effective transport options which succeed in bridging the gap between public transport and private car usage. In particular, we will look closely at the environmental benefits of more flexibly organised fleets using smaller vehicles as well as the business case necessary to deliver such services."
It is hoped the three year project will result in a greater understanding of the technological, organisational and operational requirements for the introduction of alternative flexible transport options at both regional and international levels.
Professor Nelson concludes: "Drawing high level expertise from across the EU, the intention of the project is to share knowledge between the regions about the kind of results, research and experiences which has already been gathered. We will use this information to build a clear picture about the kind of eco-sustainable and socially beneficial transport which we could potentially be making use of our roads within three to five years."
The Flexible Transport Services and ICT platform for Eco-Mobility in urban and rural European areas (FLIPPER) initiative will be officially launched at an event in Bologna, Italy on 1 and 2 December 2008.