Future of Transport: rural strategy – call for evidence – Closes 16 February 2021

Future of Transport: rural strategy – call for evidence – Closes at 11:45pm on 16 February 2021

UPDATE: the South Downs Network have submitted their views to the Government: click HERE to see the report on rural transport

Photo: thanks to Compass Travel

In just under two weeks’ time, the Government’s consultation on RURAL TRANSPORT will close. The South Downs Network make a submission If you would like to contribute please CLICK HERE by Friday 12th Feb. If however you would prefer to send in your comments directly just follow this link to the Department for Transport’s web page:

Future of Transport: rural strategy – call for evidence

Please also sign this CPRE petition about rural bus services and let the Campaign for Better Transport know what your views are.

Click image to read more about the CPRE campaign

Most of the South Downs National Park is rural with 176 towns and parishes, – most of them parishes. Most of the population, of over 110,000, are spread thought these villages in the 628 sq mile of the Park. Like many rural areas, the Park and its environs are poorly served by bus services and there are only 14 railway stations in the Park area. Whilst there is 3,332km of public rights of way, getting to them by bus is often difficult or just not possible. Paths and bridleways along rural roads are in short supply. Many villages are now totally car-dependent and this is made worse by the millions visitors coming to the park every year, mostly by car. 

This is our chance to lobby the Government to try and get better services and infrastructure alongside roads for communities in the Park when it comes to sustainable transport such as buses, cycling, walking, and horse riding. Amongst other things, we are seeking better bus services for wheelchair users, and the provision of ‘real-time passenger information’ (RTPI) displays in villages.

This consultation document is structured in three sections:

  • the context of the Future of Transport: rural strategy
  • our assessment of the mobility trends in rural areas, and the emerging opportunities for rural environments that we are witnessing in transport innovation. This section seeks views on whether we’ve identified these correctly and further evidence for these trends (see attached). 
  • consideration of the approach that the government could take to help shape these opportunities to benefit rural areas

Rachel Maclean, the Minister responsible at the Dept for Transport says: 

We now want to explore the challenges and opportunities for rural areas. Innovation has the potential to revolutionise travel within our towns, villages and more remote areas – making it easier for people to access jobs, education or healthcare. It could also provide a boost to rural communities, where people without cars often miss out on opportunities to socialise. However, these changes will not happen without partnership between industry, government, and local communities. As Minister for the Future of Transport, I am determined that we seize these benefits as we begin to explore how future transport solutions and interventions can tackle rural mobility issues, improve connectivity and accessibility, increase low carbon travel options and deliver more integrated transport services. We must also ensure that new transport innovations are inclusive and practical for all who live in our villages, towns, and more isolated locations. We have already started engaging with academia, industry, new mobility operators, local authorities, and other stakeholders to understand the challenges and opportunities facing rural areas, and to identify existing good practice. This call for evidence aims to build on this engagement and ensure that we are able to gather the views of all those with a stake in how our rural communities can benefit from transport innovation.

I encourage you to respond.

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