|Quality RuralTransport Through Digital Innovation|
| Posted on 31/05/2014 - 10:49|
Rural residents need quality public transport services but rarely do they get it. Technology can help reshape rural transport to meet demand and be commercially viable to transport operators, helping to support long term service provision.
Rural living, access to opportunity and provision of commercial public transport services are three issues which are usually at odds with one another. In order to maximise the social and economic potential of the whole population it is essential that people living beyond well served metropolitan cities can access educational, employment and leisure opportunities. The current model of heavily subsidised rural public transport services is under severe pressure in the UK and beyond. A new way of delivering commercially viable and comprehensive public transport services is essential if we are to enable equality of opportunity to all residents and offer as broad a labour market as possible to business to deliver economic growth.
We will harness the power of smartphone technology, use big data analysis and innovation in web based journey planning, booking and payment to deliver improved public transport services. Big data analysis will deliver efficiencies in the planning of rural transport by identifying rural travel patterns; an easy to use, intelligent journey planner will integrate various transport modes to deliver a seamless experience for the user. Delivery of comprehensive provision, integration of transport providers and simplified booking and payment of transport will increase passenger numbers. This phase will explore the technical feasibility of the technology solution, this will be undertaken through desk based investigation and a degree of initial planning investigating potential costs and timescales
Target group and social impact
The benefits will spread across a range of social groups. All rural residents will have improved access to education employment and leisure opportunities. Those on low incomes or with no car will enjoy reduced transport costs and more frequent services. Older people who are particularly at risk of social isolation will benefit from being connected to social networks. Sustainable travel modes will become a much more viable option in rural areas and vehicle KMs will reduce; this will equal reduced CO2 emissions and reduced vehicle noise. Economic benefits will accrue to transport providers as revenues increase and services are more efficient. Productivity in rural areas will be improved as rural businesses are better connected to their markets and labour force.
Competences of the applicant
Somerset County Council (SCC) as the Highway Authority is regularly working with commercial and community transport providers to plan and deliver transport services. SCC has well established commissioning and delivery systems to deliver complex projects on time and on budget. SCC will commission experienced consultants and software developers to deliver the technological solution.
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