5th MEETING OF THE EUROPEAN RURAL MOBILITY NETWORK – was held on the 15-16th May 2024, Evora, Portugal with site visits on 14th May

Photo by © Tourism of  Alentejo


The SMARTA-NET Project hosted its second in-person event in Évora (Portugal) with the aim of bringing together rural municipalities, experts, and practitioners to explore innovative approaches, share best practices, and identify financing mechanisms to enhance rural mobility.

Over the 15th and 16th of May, participants engaged in discussions, workshops, and interactive sessions on financing rural mobility schemes, sharing experiences with funding programs, and exploring strategies for securing additional resources inspired by case studies of successful rural mobility schemes. Site visits were also organised on the 14th.

An additional focus was on sharing practical strategies for mainstreaming rural mobility, improving connectivity with inter-city and regional bus networks, enhancing access to healthcare and other essential services, increasing ridership, and building capacity for mobility planning and management. A special session to discuss the future of the European Rural Mobility Network (ERMN), focusing on its scope, governance, services, etc., was also organised. The event aimed to empower participants to advocate for rural mobility issues and drive positive change in their communities.

The event primarily targeted ERMN members, which included rural municipalities and “multipliers” organisations, such as regions, counties, Leader Action Groups, etc. ERMN members received personalised invitations. Those eager to join were encouraged to fill in a form expressing their interest.


When: was held on the 15th and 16th of May, with site visits scheduled for the 14th of May afternoon

Where: Evora, Portugal

Venue: Évora Hotel

Day 0: Tuesday, 14th May

Getting to Evora & Site visits

14:00 – 18:00

  • 1st Option | Cycling along the ecotrail around Évora or guided tour of Arraiolos
  • 2nd Option | Guided tour of Évora’s historic centre
  • 3rd Option | Rural visit, see villages and 2-3 rural development projects


Meeting Dinner Restaurante a Bruxa d’Évora, R. Cinco de Outubro 86, 7000-854 Évora

Day 1: Wednesday, 15th May

Finding solutions to develop rural mobility

Venue: Évora Hotel, Avenida Túlio Espanca Apart. 93, 7002-502 Évora

08:30 – 09:00

Meet and greet, Check-in

09:00 – 09:15

Welcome by the host

  • João Grilo, President of ADRAL
  • Carmen Carvalheira, Vice-President of the Alentejo Regional Coordination and Development Commission

09:15 – 10:30

 Opening Plenary

10:30 – 11:00

Coffee and Networking

11:00 – 13:00

Financing rural mobility schemes – 5 tables in World Café style

  • The financing lifecycle – from initial finance through to permanent basis and further development 
  • Application processes – preparing and being successful
  • Making a convincing case – problem definition, identifying benefits relevant to the funder, valuing social and community benefits
  • Experience with EU, national and regional funding programs
  • Experience in securing additional resources – private sector, volunteering, sponsorship, user fees, demo/pilot support, …

13:00 – 14:00

Lunch break

14:00 – 15:30

Plenary Session

Presentation of good practice examples

15:30 – 16:00

Coffee and Networking

17:30 – 17:45

Concluding remarks and Introduction of Day 2

18:00 – 18:30

Special session: Conversation about the future of the ERMN (optional)


  • What should be the scope of the ERMN?
  • What issues would current and future members of the ERMN be happy for ERMN to continue to pursue?
  • What could be the governance layer of the ERMN?
  • What type of services the ERMN could provide to its members?
  • How could the financial sustainability of the ERMN be guaranteed in the next few years


ERMN Dinner

Location :  Sabores de Monsaraz Largo de São Bartolomeu, 5 Reguengos de Monsaraz 7200-175

Day 2: Thursday, 16th May

Mobilising solutions to develop rural mobility

Venue: Évora Hotel, Avenida Túlio Espanca Apart. 93, 7002-502 Évora

08:30 – 09:00

Meet and greet, Check-in

09:00 – 09:15

09:15 – 10:30

Parallel Sessions

Mainstreaming rural mobility – building on the ERMN member experience

10:30 – 11:00

Coffee and Networking

11:00 – 12:20

Panel discussion

Developing a voice on rural mobility
Two 30-minute panels, each to discuss one of the following issues:

  • Panel 1: If we had a voice, what would we say, and to who?
  • Panel 2: Could the ERMN be developed as a voice for rural mobility in Europe?

Half the time for each panel is for ERMN members (audience) contributions

12:20 – 12:40

Closing plenary

12:40 – 13:00

13:00 – 14:00

Lunch at venue


Participants depart for home/onward travel