SEStran- Promoting Regional e-Bike Schemes and more in the South East Scotland Transport region and beyond
In June 2019, SHARE-North intern Brianna Mawra spoke with Julie Vinders of South East Scotland Transport Partnership (SEStran) to discuss the organisation’s role within the SHARE-North project and what they wish to accomplish with the project’s extension.
What attracted SEStran to join SHARE-North?
SEStran joined the SHARE-North project in 2016 in order to better connect with the shared mobility movement and encourage people in the SEStran area to travel more sustainably. The city centre of Edinburgh, the Edinburgh bypass, as well as other busy roads across the South East of Scotland are often congested by private, single-occupancy cars. As a result, people are exposed to the negative effects of air pollution, particularly in cities and town centres. As a Regional Transport Partnership, SEStran aims to improve the quality of life in the SEStran area by addressing congestion, improving air quality, and promoting more sustainable travel modes. Shared mobility has the potential to significantly contribute to achieving these aims, which is why SEStran joined the SHARE-North consortium.
What is the organisation’s role in the project?
As part of the SHARE-North project, SEStran has focused on promoting its ride-sharing platform, called Tripshare SEStran. SHARE-North has contributed to promoting Tripshare SEStran, particularly during National Liftshare Week in October each year. SHARE-North has also contributed to launching our regional electric bicycle scheme ‘GO e-Bike’. Now that the project has been extended for another 3 years, SEStran will continue to promote Tripshare and will be looking to introduce mobihubs in the SEStran region, building on experiences from Bremen and Bergen.
What is Scotland’s approach to transportation? How do you think Scotland can benefit from SHARE-North’s work promoting more efficient, sustainable shared transportation?
Transport Scotland is the national transport Agency for Scotland and plays a key role in delivering the Scottish Government’s vision for a safe, efficient, cost-effective transport system in Scotland. SEStran, as the Regional Transport Partnership for the South East of Scotland, is keen to promote more sustainable transport and contribute to creating a more attractive place to live. Being part of the SHARE-North project allows us to exchange knowledge and learn from other European cities and regions facing similar transport challenges. Bringing these lessons learned to Scotland means that we can raise awareness around shared mobility as a sustainable transport mode and promote shared mobility through wider policies and strategies.
How has working transnationally benefited SEStran?
Working transnationally has allowed SEStran to learn from other European cities and regions facing similar transport challenges. Transnational collaboration is about not having to reinvent the wheel, but to exchange and learn from other’s successes and failures. The SHARE-North consortium is comprised of a variety of different organisations, which means that each organisation has its own expertise and is specialised in a different area. Transnational collaboration in the SHARE-North project is about combining that expertise, and has allowed SEStran to implement many lessons learned by the other project partners.
What you think SEStran can offer to other SHARE-North partners?
SEStran is a regional organisation and has a mix of urban, sub-urban and rural areas. One of SEStran’s main projects is GO e-Bike, a regional e-bike sharing scheme. SHARE-North contributed to the launch of the initial four hubs across the region, which are set up in various ways and various locations, ranging from semi-urban towns to rural areas. Each hub is unique to meet the needs of the local community. SEStran is bringing these experiences to the SHARE-North table and shares how we have approached setting up a regional e-bike sharing project. In addition to the GO e-Bike project, SEStran promotes ride-sharing through its Tripshare SEStran platform, providing commuters an alternative transport option to using their own private car by themselves. These projects allow us to offer the SHARE-North partners a regional perspective to various shared mobility solutions given the fact that the transport needs in rural areas are very different from the transport needs in urban areas. More information about SEStran’s GO e-bike can be found on www.goebike.scot.
Any new projects or news you’d like to share?
For the SHARE-North project extension, SEStran hopes to bring the concept of mobihubs to the SEStran region. SEStran is working with the local authorities to identify how the concept of mobihubs could work in our region. SEStran also hosted a workshop during our Integrated Mobility Forum on 16 April 2019, during which attendees from various organisations including local authorities, councillors, public transport operators, the National Health Service, etc., looked at the different ways in which mobihubs could contribute to promoting more sustainable travel and transport in the SEStran region. For now, SEStran is using this time and input from internal and external partners to see what mobihubs can mean for the region and how the concept can fill mobility gaps.