21 September 2023 – As part of the Predjama Sustainable project, which is supported by the EEA Grants, the performance of the implemented measures of the Mobility Plan has been verified. The results of the follow-up monitoring have shown an increase in the use of sustainable mobility solutions in the Predjama tourist destination area.
The common goal of the project partners, including the Municipality of Postojna, Postojna Cave, IPOP, and the Municipality of Strand from Norway, is to develop solutions for the heavy traffic loads caused by visitors to the village of Predjama and, at the same time, increase the use of sustainable form of mobility by 5 percentage points. After one year of repeated monitoring of traffic and tourist flows in the Predjama tourist destination, the results have confirmed the success of the implemented mobility plan measures. The use of sustainable mobility solutions has actually increased by 12 percentage points, surpassing the desired goal.
How was the repetition monitoring of daily visits to Predjama conducted?
In the survey regarding tourist visits to Predjama, the same method as last year was employed. They recorded the arrivals and departures of vehicles and visitors from Predjama within a single day, and then compared this data with the previous year’s figures. The counting took place on a sunny day, August 8, 2023, chosen for its comparable weather conditions to the previous year. Despite the high season in August, this choice aimed to represent a typical day rather than the peak of the tourist season, as it was found that cloudy and rainy weather attracts more visitors.
The counting took place from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM at the upper parking lot in Predjama and by the Church of Sorrowful Mother of God. Vehicles were physically recorded in pre-prepared tables, where entry and exit times, vehicle type, and the number of occupants were noted. The registration number served as an identifier for the vehicles, which were divided into different categories, including cars, vans, motorhomes, motorbikes, buses, bicycles, as well as pedestrians. Distinguishing pedestrians who walked from the parking lot to the castle from those who walked all the way to Predjama Castle was challenging. The counting was carried out by six local high school students and college students in two shifts. The results of this study are essential for understanding tourist visits to Predjama and monitoring changes in visitation over time.
What changes were implemented during the one-year period?
This tourist season, changes have been introduced in Predjama to increase sustainable visits without reducing tourist arrivals. The main measures were implemented in the framework of the Predjama Sustainable project. Parking prices were changed in the car parks, with gates in the lower car park and hourly payment via a parking meter, depending on the time of stay in Predjama. Daily parking charges in other car parks have increased slightly.
To promote the use of the shuttle bus, the offer has been extended to two additional routes. One of these routes is free and funded by the Predjama Sustainable project, operating outside the summer season. The second route operates between Planina and Predjama during the high tourist season (July, August). The bus line between Postojna Cave and Predjama remains unchanged and is flexible according to needs.
New cycling and walking routes were marked and environmental statements in three languages were produced to raise visitor awareness of sustainable mobility. A website and advertising on social media and Google were also introduced to encourage visitors to use sustainable modes of transport. Interactive displays inside the Park attracted visitors’ attention and directed caravan drivers to the shuttle bus. Parking controls were increased, and safety fences were installed along the road between Pristava and Predjama.
What were the results of the monitoring?
In this year’s monitoring in Predjama, 858 vehicles were recorded, but they did not consider 81 vehicles (9%) that immediately turned around, as well as vehicles of local residents and employees (2%). Therefore, the final number of vehicles counted was 756. On the day of the monitoring, there were 170 fewer vehicles and 191 more visitors in Predjama compared to the previous year. Despite the 120 fewer cars, they still accounted for 78% of all vehicles, and they were characterized by higher occupancy (2.7 passengers per car) and contributed to 53% of all visitors.
Vans transported 5% of the visitors, with 45 vans and 148 passengers, which is the same percentage as last year, but the occupancy was slightly lower (an average of 3.3 people per vehicle). There were 32 fewer camper vans and motorhomes than last year (34) with 93 passengers (3% of visitors). Occupancy was similar to cars, with 2.7 people per vehicle, but higher than last year. Motorcyclists are more challenging to track, but 26 motorcycles with 54 passengers were recorded (2% of visitors). There were 24 buses, including 18 shuttle buses, carrying 1052 passengers (35% of all visitors), which is considerably more than last year. The average visit duration for visitors who arrived by car, camper van, or motorcycle was 1 hour and 35 minutes, which is almost the same as last year.
Ten cyclists were recorded, including children in child seats, which is fewer than last year. The number of pedestrians walking to Predjama increased by 2 percentage points, but there is a possibility of measurement error.
If we sum up sustainable forms of mobility – pedestrians, cyclists, and bus passengers, a total of 1,137 individuals, or 38% of visitors, reached Predjama Castle sustainably. This is 12 percentage points higher than last year when there were 26% sustainable visitors. Therefore, the goal of the Predjama Sustainable project (improving the use of sustainable forms of mobility for accessing Predjama by at least 5 percentage points) has been achieved.
A significantly larger proportion of visitors arrived in Predjama by buses rather than cars and campervans. By managing traffic on the way to and in Predjama, providing alternatives to cars, and communicating them, it is possible to transport the same or even more people to Predjama with fewer vehicles. These measures do not impact the number and duration of visits to Predjama.
Source: Municipality of Postojna