Drone deliveries and digital mapping for easy-to-access walking and cycling routes could soon be a reality for people living in rural areas across the UK, following the launch of a call for evidence to help develop the Government’s Future of Transport: rural strategy.
The Future of Transport: rural strategy – call for evidence, launched today, 24th November, by transport minister Rachel Maclean, looks at how the benefits of transport innovation can be enjoyed by everyone, including those living and working in rural areas. Speaking at the Financial Times’ Future of Mobility conference, the minister is challenging business and transport groups to help ‘revolutionise’ travel in the UK’s towns, villages and hard-to-reach areas, making it easier for people to access jobs, education or healthcare.
The distance between a person’s home and their nearest mass transport hub is often around five miles in rural areas. The call for evidence looks at how linking different digital platforms together could create a more seamless experience for people, allowing them to plan, book and pay for travel all in one place, and to link journeys over multiple modes.
It will also look at how the increased popularity of e-bikes, alongside digital-mapping technology and apps, could encourage more active travel in rural communities. This, along with better access to walking and cycling routes, could help open active routes that could otherwise go unknown. Opportunities for drones to make deliveries in rural or isolated towns and areas are also being explored.
Evidence will also be sought on how micromobility transport methods – such as e-cargo bikes – could be integrated into rural transport networks, helping drive the changing face of rural economies and making home-based businesses more accessible to markets.
“This call for evidence will give us a unique opportunity to harness the community spirit of rural areas to understand how innovation in transport can benefit the people and communities that need it most,” said Maclean. “Now more than ever, it is important that we use the power of transport to build back greener, and transform how people and goods move around the UK.”