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Province happy with fresh ideas from student team about shared mobility in rural areas

Photo: Handing over the report Final Meeting SMiLES Interdisciplinary Group Assignment: Shared Mobility of Rural Groningen @Provincie Groningen

Thursday, April 11 was the official conclusion of the SMiLES interfaculty group assignment “Shared Mobility in Rural Groningen”. Seven students from five different RUG faculties examined the question of how shared mobility can meet the transport needs of residents in the rural areas of the province. The students have worked hard over the past 2.5 months to present their findings to Christian Nobel and Jan Batelaan from the mobility department of the Province of Groningen.

Province of Groningen as client
Christian and Jan look back on a good collaboration with the students. “When we asked what role shared mobility can play in rural areas and what role the province has to play in this, we were of course hoping for refreshing ideas, but we didn't know what the students would come up with! We are very pleased with the report. The students think out-of-the-box and come up with different insights,” says Christian enthusiastically. “It felt like quite a pressure cooker for the students, but it is very valuable for us to collect input in a short period of time.” This is also a great way for the province to strengthen ties with the RUG and bind people to the region. “How great would it be if one of the students decided to stay in Groningen because they know that we are working hard to keep the region as attractive as possible!” Jan concludes.

Interfaculty collaboration

The students worked hard and learned a lot in such a short period. Not only did they work together in a team for a client, but they also worked across faculties! The project coordinator of SMiLES and associate professor of social and environmental psychology at the Campus Fryslân (the newest faculty of the University of Groningen in Leeuwarden) Berfu Ünal was one of the driving forces behind making this collaboration between the faculties a reality. Professor of Quantitative Logistics Kees Jan Roodbergen, professor of IT law Aline Klingenberg, special professor of Transport Geography Taede Tillema and postdoctoral researcher of Transport Geography Felix Pot, have also campaigned for it. Without their efforts this collaboration would not have happened. Berfu says: “As far as we know, this is the first real cross-curricular collaboration, in which students in regular education followed their subjects at their own faculty and worked on this question from the province in additional meetings in depth.”

Report and presentation
To investigate the potential of shared mobility, the students first delved into the specific landscape of the province of Groningen. The analysis revealed certain areas that had more potential. One area has been selected to hold discussions with the municipality and interested residents in the neighborhood itself. Furthermore, interviews were also held with various market parties involved in (shared) mobility. This has yielded a lot of information regarding challenges and success factors for shared mobility. Finally, the opportunities regarding the legal frameworks have also been examined.

Curious about the report? View the presentation (Pdf, 1,1 Mb) or the report (Pdf, 4,2 Mb) here.


About SMiLES

The research was carried out in the context of SMiLES (Shared connectivity in Mobility and Logistics Enable Sustainability), a five-year interfaculty living lab that conducts research into sustainable transport and logistics in Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland. It is made possible by NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research), the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. The consortium of 18 practice partner partners (including public transport, telecom, logistics and regional authorities), 6 faculties at the RUG (from the Faculty of Economics and Business, Behavioral and Social Sciences, Campus Fryslân, Law, Spatial Sciences and Science & Engineering involved) , researchers from the Hanze, a lecturer and several teachers from Noorderpoort, and dozens of students, PhD students, postdocs and professors.


For more information see en

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