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Sustainable mobility for the «Regional Nature Park Schaffhausen»

The project "Regional Nature Park Schaffhausen" will help to increase the tourism potential of the canton in the next years. Therefore the ZHAW School of Engineering evaluated how visitors can travel to and from the park and also how to direct them within the park. Based on the results, the researchers developed a mobility concept with specific measures and action fields.

Mobilty is one of the main research fields at the Institute of Sustainable Development (INE) of the ZHAW School of Engineering. Since many years, INE is a partner in numerous international research projects to stimulate sustainable mobility in Europe. The current project with the Regional Nature Park Schaffhausen shows this for Switzerland. This institution combines different goals, which all want to develop the Schaffhausen area to be an attractive place to live and for businesses with a focus on tourism, nature and local recreation. The INE was entrusted to develop a concept for sustainability in this context.

Involvement of local stakeholders

The goal of the mobility concept is the development of a transport system, that maintains quality of life and economic competitiveness but at the same time also minimizes pressures on people, environment and climate. Active mobility such as bikng and hiking should not only be provided but also facilitated. «Looking at the holistic goal settings it becomes obvious that we encounter differing interests of different stakeholders and persons concerned» says Dr. Merja Hoppe, who is head of the Sustainable Transport Systems research group at INE. «Both the development of sustainability goals as well as putting them into practice is a negotiation process that requires compromises.» Therefore the mobility concept inherits two aspects: the analysis of existing data from a sustainability perspective and the inclusion of regional stakeholders. Merja Hoppe not only talked with tranportation planners but also with bikers or hunters.  «We develop a common understanding of sustainable mobility in stakeholder workshops which enables us to derrive suggestions for specific measures in action fields that are relevant for mobility.»

Mobility as part of the whole

To facilitate acceptance for the goals of sustainable mobility and therefore also for the development of the Nature Park towards sustainability it is necessary that visitors seeking for quietness and nature realize the connection between the regeneration potential of an area and their own (mobility) behaviour. «Only when mobility is seen as part of the whole experience it is possible to get acceptance for measures that probably don't allow the current behaviour in the same quantity any more. This could be for example reducing the amount of parking spaces in the middle of the forest which limits car access» Merja Hoppe explains. This shows that linking touristic offers and mobility is the essential topic. Mobility of travelling to and from the destination as well as the actual leisure activities cannot be seen or developed separately from the touristic offers and services. «The mobility concept that was developed by INE is a perfect basis to combine sustainable mobility with sustainable tourism» explains Christoph Müller, head of the Regional Nature Park Schaffhausen.

Sustainable mobility as an attraction

The action fields also comprise potentials that can increase the attractiveness of the Nature Park as recreational and tourism destination. An example for this are "Free Walking" tours, where locals provide walking tours for foreign guests. Visitors get and overview and benefit from a guided access to the Nature Park. The tour can also start with being picked up ath the train station, provide company in public transport and by that promote sustainable mobility. «Such offers are also interesting for visitor groups with special needs such as elderly people or persons with limited physical mobilty» says Merja Hoppe. «Besides this example there are many other opportunities that can be thought of. They ideally are developed from within the region and therefore enhance the economic feasability and added values for the Nature Park.»

The project at a glance

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 Project status: finished