Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow

The future of rural transport in place like Hope Valley

The aim of this paper is to explore questions about lessons from elsewhere in Europe, particularly Switzerland, the role of new technolgy, the prospect of changing travel behaviour and the impacts of the Covid.  read more …


European experience

  • Transport is a key issue for rural areas. About 90% of trips in rural areas like Hope Valley are currently by car and the car is likely to remain the dominant form of travel in rural areas at least till 2030.  A public transport network that enables intermodal links to local walking, cycling, taxi and other transport options will need to be a policy priority if the dominance of the car is to be addressed.
  • European rural areas have superior transport because of greater regional coordination and a flexible approach to customer-focused services.  Integration is possible in Europe because a regional authority coordinates all public transport. Private companies run services but frequencies, timetables, information and fares are decided by the coordinating body. 
  • Switzerland is acknowledged to have achieved the world’s best integration of its timetabling, meshing buses with nation-wide coordination of train services in a ‘Taktfahrplan’, literally translated as ‘clock timetable’. The Swiss public transport system is open: a ticket from A to B is valid on all modes, and the integrated, regular-interval timetable creates an end-to-end transport chain encompassing all means of transport.
  • To achieve this level of integration in the UK two conditions would be necessary:  a single body with the power and responsibility to create a national public transport timetable and local public transport services to be regulated, so that local councils can set standards for service provision.

New technology and the future

  • New technology will allow vehicles to be shared or hired more easily with real-time tracking and demand prediction allowing smart timetabling and integrated ticketing to cover journeys encompassing two or more modes of travel.
  • Demand responsive transport (DRT) as currently envisaged may enable a planning objective to be achieved (that all residents of a rural area should be served at a given level of accessibility), but the cost per trip may be prohibitive. Autonomous vehicles (AV) and the integration of digital information platforms to plan and deliver multimodal mobility may make DRT more viable.

Changing travel behaviour

  • There have been considerable efforts over the last 20 years to reduce car travel. Interventions to promote transport behaviour change can be divided into those with structural or behavioural components, or those with a combination of both.  The key finding of various reviews is that the evidence for efficacy of behavioural interventions to decrease distance and duration of car journeys is limited and inconclusive.
  • People are more likely to change travel behaviour at the time of major life events like moving home or changing jobs. Car use also varies substantially between households whcih suggests good public transport provision can restrain car ownership and use.

  • There is an opportunity post-COVID to transform transport policies and planning using the concept of ‘Responsible Transport’ that has grown out of the changes in attitudes and behaviour brought about by social isolation.

read full paper …

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Hope Valley Climate Action (Reg. No. 1192830) is a CIO – Foundation.   Registered 17 Dec 2020.
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