Can digitalisation help to maintain or even strengthen everyday services in rural areas? For example, in terms of shopping facilities, mobility services (local public transport) and medical services? What environmental impacts are associated with this or can it even reduce environmental impacts? The IZT is investigating these and other questions on a pilot basis in the Wolfenbüttel district of Lower Saxony. A characteristic feature of this district is that it borders on the city of Braunschweig. A number of digitally coordinated services are conceivable, especially in the areas of mobility and consumption, which are of great interest to non-motorised people in rural regions: Call buses and carpooling, but also shopping and take-home services by other villagers or by postmen and women. Skyping with the doctor or digitalisation in the administration in the district could also become significant - this could eliminate journeys to the major centres and save CO2 emissions.

The project "Environmental opportunities and risks of digitalised services of general interest in suburbanised areas" aims to demonstrate the potential of services of general interest based on information and communication technologies and the associated environmental opportunities and risks. The project is being implemented in Wolfenbüttel as a pilot project in the sense of a real laboratory in order to provide exemplary experience and suggestions for other rural regions. The background is the opportunities that digitalisation offers for the provision of public services in rural areas. The aim is to use the example of the Wolfenbüttel district to identify and concretise possible approaches for the networking, coupling and integration and intelligent control of infrastructures in connection with social innovations. In the process, important environmental aspects that have received little attention to date are to be examined more closely and future opportunities, risks, challenges and needs for action are to be identified. The IZT's work packages:

WP 1 Initial situation of services of general interest (participation)
WP 2 Concept development (IZT in charge)
WP 3 Pilot implementation (participation)
WP 4 Analysis of environmental impacts, risks and transferability (IZT in charge)
WP 5 Evaluation, interpretation and recommendations (IZT in charge)

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