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The future of rural transport: challenges, solutions, technologies

  • by JW

@ Sidmouth’s Café Scientifique – postponed to Tuesday 28th November

Plus: “creating a mobility policy for the whole South West of England to support the levelling-up of our local rural communities and economies” [Western Gateway]


This coming Tuesday evening sees a very interesting session at the Sidmouth Café Scientifique – looking at The Future of Rural Transport:

Nick Bromley will talk about The Future of Rural Transport

Nick will reference his recent paper to the House of Commons Transport Committee to give an overview of the challenges facing rural transport and the main types of solutions and technologies under development by government and private sectors.

These will include driverless vehicles, demand response/shared transport, and ways of capturing population movement demand data.

This will then lead on to a group discussion during which there will be an opportunity for the audience to actively talk about what they would like to see happen to transport in Sidmouth and the surrounding area.

This is very much about how technology can help drive better transport – and about much-needed joined-up thinking.

Interestingly, earlier this year, the National Infrastructure Commission identified nine key challenges for its next report:

  • all sectors will need to take the opportunities of new digital technologies
  • the electricity system must decarbonise fast to meet the sixth Carbon Budget
  • decarbonising heat will require major changes to the way people heat their homes
  • new networks will be needed for hydrogen and carbon capture and storage
  • good asset management will be crucial as the effects of climate change increase
  • action is needed to improve surface water management as flood risk increases
  • the waste sector must support the move to a circular economy
  • improved urban mobility and reduced congestion can boost urban productivity
  • a multimodal interurban transport strategy can support regional growth.

The last point might be of particular interest to Sidmouth and East Devon.

And in its South West Rural Mobility Strategy from last year, the Western Gateway pressure group laid out some details for ‘multimodal interurban transport’ for this area:

This strategy, developed jointly by the Peninsula Transport and Western Gateway Sub-national Transport Bodies (STBs) sets out mobility policy for the whole South West of England to support the levelling-up of our local rural communities and economies. It identifies an ambitious vision for the future of rural mobility and a set of policies and proposals to achieve it. Our definition of rural encompasses all places outside of major urban centres that are in the countryside or coastal areas, including on estuaries. In developing this strategy, we have taken an evidence-led, people and place-centric approach, ensuring that the needs of different rural communities are taken into account.