Mobility in Rural Areas

Low population density, dispersed settlement structures, long distances between locations for living, working and supply and a limited public transport service already characterise many rural regions in Germany.

Demographic change is intensifying the negative consequences of these structures. A decline in the number of pupils means for the rural public transport a disappearing of its main source of funding.

Increasingly individualised mobility needs are leading to a demand that is difficult to bundle and thus can hardly be met by conventional public transport. 

Mobility offers in rural areas must change and adapt to these new conditions. They must become more flexible and also involve new actors and sources of funding.

Rural mobility of the future means establishing a region-specific, tailor-made mobility mix of publicly accessible and individual modes of transport.

Relevant impulses arise from the digitalisation which enables new pooling offers and, in the medium to long term, automated, i.e. driverless and connected, public transport. The latter could significantly increase the mobility opportunities of the population and the economic efficiency of the services, especially in rural areas. Bicycles and pedelecs also play an increasingly important role. 

We support regions in the search for tailor-made solutions. In developing suitable concepts, we take into account current demographic, social and technological issues and emerging mobility solutions (Shared Mobility, autonomous driving etc.).

Our fields of action

We know the changing conditions in rural areas as well as the diverse mobility offers. Our particular concern is to develop tailor-made solutions for the model and pilot regions we support within the framework of innovative mobility concepts. Our software products support the analysis of existing mobility offers (e.g. by means of accessibility analyses) as well as the conception and evaluation of new services. 

  • Further development of demand and transport models with regard to the specific characteristics of rural areas
  • Further development of approaches for impact assessment and evaluation of mobility concepts in rural areas
  • Development of innovative concepts and measures for rural areas

Our product portfolio supports you on this and many other topics.

Selected projects 

PTV Research developed an integrated mobility concept for the district of North Frisia. This includes

  • a so-called cooperation area concept based on voluntary cooperation between municipalities and the definition of care centres at central, easily accessible locations, and
  • a coordinated innovative mobility concept which provides flexible forms of public transport services, electromobility and mobility services for civic involvement.

The findings gained in North Frisia have now been tested in 18 other regions in the model project "Long-term security of supply and mobility in rural areas" initiated by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure.


In the project LEA(small)bus, we analysed various fields of application and use - including rural areas - of automated vehicles of different sizes in public transport.

We were also involved in the development of the mobility concept in the district of Cuxhaven. This concept focused on approaches for equivalent public transport connections to the care centres, multifunctional mobility services and small mobility stations in rural areas.

New mobility services and their development in different regions as well as their impact on traffic and the environment were examined in the study "Modal shift and environmental effects of changed mobility concepts in passenger transport".