‘Rural community 30 minutes’ – The next steps to level rural mobility

© Tim Lamper

Giles Perkins, Head of Future Mobility at WSP, Presents and Presents New Report Highlighting Opportunities to Make Rural Communities More Connected

Conversations about connectivity and mobility have until now generally been reserved for people living and working in densely populated cities and urban areas.

From these discussions emerged the concept of a ‘city in 15 minutes’, whereby everyone has access to key amenities and opportunities in a short ride from their doorstep. However, 12 million people in the UK live in much more rural areas and these have their own unique and largely (yet) unresolved challenges.

WSP and Foot Anstey strike up a conversation on the future of rural mobility and have released a paper outlining our beliefs on what action is needed.

While our large cities have generally benefited from easier, safer and cheaper mobility, the last decades have seen rural areas left behind. Over the past decades, the vast majority of those living in rural parts of the UK have experienced a reduction in essential services, including the provision of public transport, leaving them dependent on cars and other forms of mobility private expensive – or not at all.

Without access to motor vehicles, some people in our rural communities often find themselves unable to easily access healthcare, education, employment, leisure activities or opportunities for interaction. social. A simple copy and paste of solutions developed in urban areas will not work. We need to recognize that rural communities have different needs and want to be connected to surrounding places in different ways.

Extrapolating the idea behind the 15 minute city would give us a goal to see a larger landscape, and thus present the “30 minute rural community”. This approach will allow us to examine the main challenges and opportunities that are more exclusive to rural communities and begin to introduce us to some approaches to answer key questions.

As the UK strives to become net zero by 2050 and improve economic prosperity in its regions and areas within these regions, it is crucial that we consider addressing these less perceived challenges .

This could start by answering questions about physical and digital infrastructure – such as broadband connection and traditional internal combustion engine vehicles – but would quickly turn into broader social and economic challenges, including large variations in the market. rural wealth and the emigration of young people in search of opportunities.

These are just a few examples of specific objectives that need to be taken into account in future policy. This is a huge challenge and is compounded by the fundamental fact that all communities are different, have different needs, different existing infrastructure and services. Adopting a place-based, people-centered and evidence-based approach is imperative to achieving the radical change needed.

For this to work, there may be legislative barriers to overcome, traditional ways of working to deconstruct, new relationships to foster and inevitably allow the creativity needed to think outside the box and develop viable economic and business models over the long term.

The solution to this major problem will inevitably lie in cross-sectoral research, undertaking joint planning to find answers that improve access to the things we do and on which we all depend.

The government is already engaged on this issue, with the publications of Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy in 2019 and the recent consultation on Future of Transport: Rural Strategy which closed in February, but decisive action is needed soon to ensure millions of people across the country are not left behind or disadvantaged simply because they live in a rural area.

from the publisher advised Articles

About Keneth T. Graves

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