A report which examined transport issues in more rural shire counties, which was co-sponsored by England's Economic Heartland, has been published by the University of Hertfordshire.
The The Future of Transport Outside Cities report summarises the findings of 12 roundtable discussions led by the University of Hertfordshire’s Smart Mobility Unit last year. Over 180 people took part from a range of sectors, including national and local government, the transport sector, business, academia, and non-governmental organisations.
The aim was to address and find solutions to transport issues in rural parts of the country. They highlighted several opportunities to improve connectivity and showcased initiatives from across the country, including:
- On-demand bus services. Services like HertsLynx and ArrivaClick are designed to improve connections between rural areas and town centres, as well as increase access to employment, education, healthcare and shopping.
- E-bike hire schemes such as Brompton Bike Hire and Beryl Bikes. E-bikes extend typical cycling range from three to five miles, which could be useful in rural areas.
- Improved public transport. For example, the One Public Transport for Cornwall project integrates bus and rail travel under a single brand, with the same ticketing system and joint timetables.
- Shared transport schemes like Liftshare, which reduce the number of single-occupancy car journeys to work.
Professor Stephen Joseph, Visiting Professor of Sustainable Transport and the main author of the report, said: “There is a tendency to think that people outside cities have to drive everywhere, but this leads to high emissions, gridlocked roads, and is isolating for those without their own vehicles. This report concludes that car dependency isn’t inevitable and highlights ways this can be reduced in rural areas. Tackling car dependency will have a big impact on climate change."