MARA—Mobility and Accessibility in Rural Areas

MARA―Mobility and Accessibility in Rural Areas―is a research and development project funded by the EU Interreg Baltic Sea Region programme.

The aim of the MARA project is to improve the accessibility and mobility in touristic remote areas of the Baltic Sea Region by increasing the capacity of transport actors. MARA aims to crosscheck the actual mobility demand of residents and tourists with current mobility offers.

The main role of the Mobility Lab is to develop an interactive mobility mapping tool “Population Mobility Monitor” for showing realised mobility flows of people based on a range of digital mobility data sources. By combining various data sources, the experimental Population Mobility Monitor supports a better understanding of the diurnal and seasonal travel patterns and the need for public transit solutions both in rural and urban areas. The tool enables to understand the spatiotemporal dynamics of human mobility and thus supports public authorities, transport service providers, and other interested parties in their decision-making.

PMM has also been adopted to Ludwigslust-Parchim case area in Germany.

The source code for further development and replication is accessible from the repository at 

Research output

The academic research conducted within the MARA project addresses the methodological issues of digital data sources to create a better understanding of the mobility flows of people and to produce dynamic population statistics longitudinally. The research activities also include the evaluation of the sustainability of novel mobility solutions in rural areas from the perspective of permanent and temporary user groups.

  • Poltimäe, H., Rehema, M., Raun, J., Poom, A. (2022). In search of sustainable and inclusive mobility solutions for rural areas. European Transport Research Review, 14: 13, DOI:
  • Aasa, A., Kamenjuk, P., Saluveer, E., Šimbera, J., Raun, J. (2021) Spatial interpolation of mobile positioning data for population statistics, Journal of Location Based Services, 15(4): 239260, DOI: 10.1080/17489725.2021.1917710 
  • Poom, A., Järv, O., Zook, M., Toivonen, T. (2020) COVID-19 is spatial: Ensuring that mobile Big Data is used for social good. Big Data & Society, 7(2) JulyDecember: 17, DOI: 10.1177/2053951720952088

Public presentations and media coverage

  • Project name: MARA―Mobility and Accessibility in Rural Areas. New approaches for developing mobility concepts in remote areas
  • Duration: January 2019–December 2021
  • Funding: Interreg Baltic Sea Region programme
  • Lead partner: Ministry of Energy, Infrastructure and Digitalization Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany
  • Principal Investigators at the Mobility Lab: Janika Raun, Age Poom
  • People involved: Mirjam Veiler, Kristiina Paiste, Arvi Kiik, Kyrylo Medianovskyi, Kristjan Erik Loik
  • Collaboration partners in Estonia: Positium, SEI Tallinn
  • Project webpage:
  • Project information in the Estonian Research Information System