Municipality Puconci (Slovenia)
The municipality of Puconci is located on the west bank of the Mura River, in the north-east of Slovenia. It covers 108 km² and consists of 23 villages. The municipality is situated on the pannonian plain and the main natural wealth is its fertile soils. Farming is still the most important industry here. The municipality of Puconci has a well developed intellectual infrastructure (primary schools, kindergartens, sport, health service), as well as social and material infrastructure (telecommunications, electric and water grids). Tourism is a very important economic sector in this area and it has great potential for further development. Some initial work has been done with the cycle and walking paths, natural sites, cultural heritage and farmhouse accommodation. In the rural areas public transport services are rather weak. Shops and medical services are mostly located in Murska Sobota the biggest city in the region. Mostly people from the small villages have to travel to this city for their everyday activities.
Actual state of accessibility-work
The municipality is responsible for the construction and maintenance of public spaces/roads, but the problem is always the budget and the municipality receive limited budget for mobility from the national government. At a national level there are ministries and agencies responsible for the mobility. An agency for public traffic should have been established, but now it is not likely, because there is a new government. AP MS, a transport provider, is responsible for public transport in the Pomurje region, and they also receive budget from the ministry. It is small administration at the municipality of Puconci, with limited staff there is no specific person who works on accessibility or sustainable mobility. At the municipality there is a Board for Prevention and Education on Road Safety and a newly established Commission for the Elderly. In the municipality, as also in the region, there are several associations (Inter-municipal association of disabled person, Society of Blind and Visually Impaired, Association of Cerebral Palsy, Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing) for PRM, who are working among other activities also on the accessibility, mostly in the frame of some projects. So projects on sustainable mobility are very welcome in Slovenia, because mobility work is at an early stage and they are keen to learn from other countries. Already, the municipality implements a large scale initiative aimed at PRM such as construction of a special elevator and the establishment of the Commision for the Elderly. As a test site for the ISEMOA system they have made a very important first step to improve accessibility and quality of live in the municipality.
Expectations of the selected test-site were:
The municipality of Puconci agreed to become an ISEMOA test-site, because they were willing to collect information about the current accessibility situation in the municipality, progressively remove the barriers for PRM and develop concrete measures for improving energy efficiency and accessibility in the municipality.
The ISEMOA team, covering all target groups and key-stakeholders (including both users -representatives of all PRM groups: blind people, disabled person, president of the Inter-municipal association of disabled person, representative of the SONČEK-Association of Cerebral Palsy and representative of Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing) and providers (representatives of municipality, public transport provider, transport and land use planning, Board for Prevention and Education on Road Safety), was composed. Through this group and implementation of the ISEMOA system a useful pool of information has been established useful “market” including background information, indicators, ideas, knowledge and exchange of best practise.
In the municipality of Puconci, and also wider in the region, an awareness of accessibility and energy efficiency for PRM has been raised among decision makers, PRM and other members of the general public. Implementing the ISEMOA system in the Municipality of Puconci is an important first step in accessibility for this small municipality. The ISEMOA QMS has helped local and regional stakeholders to review the current state of accessibility in the municipality and develop an action plan with concrete measures to continuously improveme accessibility in the Municipality of Puconci.
Quotes of local stakeholders
“I would recommend and present the ISEMOA system also to the other neighbouring municipalities and other municipalities in the region and Slovenia. Some measures can be implemented more efficiently and also economically (divided costs), if more municipalities work together. The ISEMOA system is a very good system to take steps forward with accessibility, to get an overview of weak points and to try to find the solutions together with other key stakeholders.” (representative of municipality Puconci).
“During the meetings we gained insight into the facts and information, that were unknown to us. So the ISEMOA system is good for exchange of knowledge, experiences and information. This was a great opportunity to expose the problems and weak points and then also to discuss and find possible solutions.” (Representative from the Public transport provider)
“As a member of the ISEMOA team I had the opportunity to meet with the “providers”(representatives of the municipality, public transport, and planning) and to explain to them about the problems we are facing as PRM. Then it was very good that we have presented the best practise examples and discussed the solutions for our problems.” (Representative of PRM and PRM associations)