BORIS Theses

BORIS Theses
Bern Open Repository and Information System

Emerging transport solutions and their contributions towards sustainable rural transport systems

Imhof, Sebastian (2021). Emerging transport solutions and their contributions towards sustainable rural transport systems. (Thesis). Universität Bern, Bern

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Access to public transport in rural areas is important for preventing social exclusion and ensuring high quality of life. In contrast to urban areas, public transport provision in rural areas faces the challenges of more dispersed settlements and lower demand for services. Transport solutions such as demand responsive transport and ridesharing services may help to overcome these challenges and contribute to more sustainable rural transport systems. Even when many of these emerging transport solutions are meant to improve the entire transport system, each new service always has to be understood in its spatial context. Examples of ridehailing services, such as provided by Uber and DiDi Chuxing, proved to increase the flexibility of urban transport systems and render the ownership of a personal car superfluous. However, these services had negative consequences for taxi and public transport ridership, challenging long-established and historically developed transport regimes. Although research on emerging transport solutions and their impact on transport systems has mainly been conducted in urban areas and in the context of smart cities, knowledge of how to implement suitable emerging transport solutions in rural areas remains insufficient. To better understand the conditions under which emerging transport solutions can help to solve the challenges of rural public transport systems, this thesis examines three transport solutions at various stages of their market presence and innovation: autonomous vehicles, demand responsive transport, and ridesharing. With the help of the literature on socio-technical transitions, this research seeks to better understand the potentials of these emerging transport solutions for more sustainable rural transport systems despite the challenges that the services face. The challenges discussed in this thesis are particularly related to the regulatory constraints and uncertainties these services face today and are expected to face in the future. The findings show that each of the three transport solutions examined here is embedded differently in a transition towards a more sustainable rural transport system. This is related to the different impacts of each solution on rural transport systems. The introduction of autonomous vehicles to a rural public transport system has the potential to transform the entire regime. The findings show that the most positive transition would be achieved by combining autonomous vehicles with current railway services. The example of a rural ridesharing service, Taxito, proves to be guided by societal rather than economic goals. Its service design determines its position as a niche innovation that is only possible to provide within an existing car regime. The final innovation is a rural demand responsive transport system called mybuxi; this is also considered a niche innovation today due to the lack of regulations that might enable it to be part of the rural public transport system. Despite their various positions in the transition towards a more sustainable transport system, all three transport solutions contribute to preventing the social exclusion of the most vulnerable individuals, such as elderly people. All the emerging transport solutions examined here can help to improve rural accessibility. Moreover, they can contribute to the attractiveness of rural areas. A transition towards more sustainable rural transport systems may therefore provide added value.

Item Type: Thesis
Dissertation Type: Cumulative
Date of Defense: 1 October 2021
Subjects: 300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics
700 Arts > 710 Landscaping & area planning
900 History > 910 Geography & travel
Institute / Center: 08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Depositing User: Hammer Igor
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2021 10:23
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2021 10:32

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