Research-led Innovation on Rural Travel

Rural travel reseachRural Techs believes in evidence-based decisions and working truly collaboratively with others. These two aims underpinned the MERGeS project funded by the UK’s Geospatial Commission. And is why the outcomes of that project are so important for insight they provide. Obviously, there are certain outcomes that we cannot share; but others we are happy to put into the public domain for the greater benefit of all addressing the problem that is rural travel and transport.

True Collaborative Partners

Many say they work collaboratively for mutual benefit. Sadly, for some organisations those are only words. Thankfully this was not the case for MERGeS where technologists engaged with cyber-security and ruralist academics and equally well with community transport, bus companies and a district economic partnership and council. The mutual sharing and commenting on ideas and approaches made these more robust and created true insight.

Publishable Research

Today Rural Techs is delighted to publish publicly two pieces of research undertaken with the Forest Economic Partnership. These looked at a rural area (the district of the Forest of Dean) to survey travel needs and behaviours of:

We have previously highlighted their summaries. Work is ongoing on the models of rural travel the data creates. What it shows is a significant variation from:

  • current provision and choices and
  • challenges many presumptions of rural travel needs in the current and future world.

Last week’s blog highlighted the work of Gloucestershire’s CCRI including insights from MERGeS. While that full report has also been submitted to the OECD Working Group on Innovative Mobility for the Periphery; it’s not in the public domain. Similarly, the significant work of Warwick University’s WMG around cyber-security approaches for individuals and organisations is awaiting academic publication first.

No one would of course expect us to publish the technical design of the integrated rural MaaS system! This resulted from the interaction between Rural Techs, WMG, i-lateral, Aqua Eye and Evergreen. What everyone needs to wait for is the demonstrator system and the necessary tweaks which allow for rural realities of poor connections and time for behavioural change. But we can’t wait too long as Monday’s IPCC report announced in the BBC’s words, climate change is already ‘code red for humanity’.

Funding Acknowledgement

The published research was undertaken as part of Rural Techs MERGeS project funded by the Geospatial Commission’s Innovate UK SBRI competition: Using geospatial data to solve transport challenges phase 1. The Geospatial Commission & Innovate UK do not endorse any of the findings or positions outlined in the work being published by the projects.