19/05/2020 - RSN Seminar: Barriers to access – Connectivity & Rural Transport

Date: 19th May 2020
Subject: Barriers to access – Connectivity & Rural Transport
Chair: Councillor Trevor Thorne, Northumberland County Council
- To download the agenda for this meeting click here


- Download the rural mobility toolkit here

- Download the summary and recommendations report here

Learning Outcomes

3 Examples of Good Practice
  • Future of Rural Mobility Toolkit - made available on our website with the presentation from Midlands Connect.
  • On demand transport in Tees Valley - Using the all-new Tees Flex app (iOS and Android), customers can hail a vehicle directly from their smartphone. The app's clever algorithms enable multiple passengers to seamlessly share the vehicle.
    The technology directs passengers to a nearby 'virtual bus stop' (within a short walking distance) for their pick-up and drop-off points, allowing for quick and efficient shared trips - without lengthy detours, taking customers where they like, when they like!
  • The Linkage Outreach Project is a unique sensory initiative funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. The project provides schools, nursing homes, children’s centres, and community groups across Lincolnshire the opportunity to access, enjoy and gain real benefit from sensory resources and facilities, at no cost to them.
    Linkage delivers sensory support to people and places that are difficult to reach, helping to remove the financial and geographical barriers often involved in accessing services in fixed places.
5 Key Learning Points
  • National Innovation Centre focused on the Rural Economy will be starting in September 2020 and is a project of Newcastle University, CCRI and Warwick Business School.
  • How will demands for Rural Transport change after lockdown ends, will current habits such as working from home remain and therefore change our needs?
  • Reliable 4G connectivity should be our first priority for rural areas.
  • Would Digital Champions within organisations help to bring together different work areas to overcome barriers to enabling connectivity, for example Planning, Economic Development etc?
  • There is a need to build on what is already there in communities to find solutions and work with existing groups.
  • Concept of ‘Local Transport Hubs’ is the topic of further research by Midlands Connect. Further to Covid-19 and lockdown, this option will be worth further exploration to assists with mobility of rural populations.

- The above learning outcomes can be downloaded here

Attendance & apologies:

Marija Aleksandrova Rural Services Network
Ivan Annibal Rose Regeneration
Graham Biggs Rural Services Network
Kerry Booth Rural Services Network
Andy Dean Rural Services Network
Richard Dowson Raising Aspirations Empowering Change Ltd
Gareth Elliot Mobile UK
Valerie Hastie Midlands Connect
Chris Hinchliff CPRE, the countryside charity
Claire Holt Durham County Council
Vince Ion Lincolnshire Refugee Doctor Project
Rita Lawson Tees Valley Rural Action
Glenn Martin Durham County Council
Elaine O'Leary Northamptonshire  ACRE
Dr Jessica Sellick NCRHC / Rose Regeneration
Niz Smith Linkage Community Trust
Lorna Tang HMRC
Cllr Trevor Thorne Northumberland County Council
Nadine Trout Rural Services Network
Jeff Turner University of Newcastle
Cllr Robert Heseltine North Yorkshire County Council
Cllr Martin Gannon Gateshead Council
John Birtwistle FirstGroup UK Bus Division


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