Senior ForskareContact Maria
To reduce car dependence and create attractive transport solutions for tourists, the "mountain experience bus" was introduced in the summer of 2020, a on-demand mobility service for tourist transfers and trips in the are. RISE was involved in evaluating the acceptance of the service and user experience.
Södra Årefjällen, like many other sparsely populated areas in the country, is characterized by widespread car dependence as well as a low frequency of public transport. It greatly affects both the local population and the hospitality industry, whose guests in many cases travel long car journeys through the country. However, the Arctic region differs from many other mountain areas or nature tourist destinations in general in that it has a good train connection, especially in connection with Stockholm. But the lack of local communications reduces the number of guests who could have taken the train instead of the car. Regardless, travel by train has increased in recent years, and there is a certain amount of rail commuting to, for example, Östersund. Based on the current situation, however, there is significant potential to increase rail-bound travel throughout the Åre Mountains and thus reduce the transport's climate impact - as well as emissions from the hospitality industry's value chain.
The reason for the lack of a functioning local transport system for travel to and from the train station and within Årefjällen is that the public sector has challenges in being able to offer frequency for public transport at a level that makes it a reasonable alternative for many travelers. Today, there is only one scheduled bus a day in Södra Årefjällen, which is adapted to the school children's schedule: one trip early in the morning and one trip in the afternoon. On weekdays, a call-controlled bus tour is also offered in the middle of the day.
Dialogues with the local population and the hospitality industry show that publicly funded public transport today is not sufficient to meet the transport needs in the area. Residents in Södra Årefjällen feel that today there are not enough good alternatives to the car. This perceived low accessibility is strongest among those who have recently moved to the area, many of them coming from larger towns with better communications. At the same time, the hospitality industry sees that the lack of local transport opportunities is a business risk at a time when climate emissions are to be reduced and train holidays are on the rise.
Against this background, Södra Årefjällen economic association has begun work on developing and testing a local transport system that will solve transports between the train station and the different villages in the area. The work takes place in partnership with the company Freelway and the RISE, as well as in dialogue with actors from the public sector. In a report, we tell about the work so far, lessons learned and ideas for the continued development of a local, multimodal and shared transport system in Södra Årefjällen.
Region Jämtland Härjedalen