For over 30 years Stephen Joseph OBE was a leading voice in championing sustainable transport, helping to emphasise the importance of buses, trains and trams to successive Governments.
He led the pressure group Transport 2000 which morphed into the Campaign for Better Transport, of which Stephen was chief executive until 2018.
Stephen is now a Professor in the Smart Mobility Unit at the University of Hertfordshire, and is keen to “close the gap” between an often abundant provision of public transport services inside conurbations and the relatively poor levels of service and alternatives to cars in rural, suburban or coastal communities.
With the help of Connected Places Catapult, he recently convened two sets of roundtables involving transport specialists, technology companies, operators and community groups to discuss the future of mobility outside cities. Outputs from the events are being used to inform a Department for Transport rural mobility strategy, due this autumn, which will provide guidance for decision makers on improving rural mobility provision.
Earlier this summer, Stephen and colleagues were welcomed onto the Transport Research and Innovation Grants programme delivered by the Catapult on behalf of the Department for Transport. The programme is assisting Stephen and colleagues from the University of Hertfordshire’s Smart Mobility Unit to produce a feasibility study for a new mobility ‘hub’ at their campus to provide better public transport services for staff and students.
“We are also having conversations with the wider community in Hatfield to see if there are opportunities for providing alternatives to private cars, such as car clubs, car sharing, electric vehicle schemes and demand responsive transport,” says Stephen. “The idea is to see what the business cases are, what would be needed to make these ideas work and what this all might mean for future policymakers.”
He says the Catapult has been very helpful in providing connections with like-minded professionals and projects. At the launch of the latest programme earlier this summer in Birmingham, he was pleased to meet with others “doing some very interesting work in a similar area”.