Assessing Sustainable Transport Solutions (AsSeTS) for Rural Mobility final dissemination webinar

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Event finished: 3rd March 2021

The Connected Places Catapult (CPC) Assessing Sustainable Transport Solutions (AsSeTS) for Rural Mobility project, funded by the UK Department for Transport, identifies ways to enhance accessibility and transport solutions in rural environments by improving the knowledge base around demand for new mobility services.

Demand for travel in rural areas is often underestimated and/or outdated. By using a data-driven approach which analyses trip-chains derived from recently collected mobile network data, the decision-making process implemented exposes differences between geographies (e.g. accessibility, population density) and establishes alternative new data sources to represent the demand for travel (pre-COVID status), opening up the opportunity to use Agent-based Models in rural areas.

The project removed barriers which prevent on demand mobility being commercially viable in rural areas by exploring alternative data source to understand typical daily travel patterns, and requirements of on demand mobility solutions for meeting expectations for rural transport demand.

Three rural areas at different population density were identified as representative case studies for the UK and studied to capture people travel habits and attitudes towards new mobility services:

• Mainly Rural (8.9% of UK population based on 2011 Census data) – Northumberland

• Largely Rural (11.9% of UK population) – South Somerset

• Urban with Significant Rural (13% of UK population) – Essex

For those areas, a data landscape to assess data availability in rural communities was developed. Mobile Network Data (MND) aggregated at trip-chains level provided a comprehensive understanding of travel demand (and patterns) to identify differences between geographies.

In parallel, residents in rural areas were interviewed to establish travel habits and their propensity towards innovative on demand digital mobility services as well as potential applications in rural areas through on-line based survey, communities and focus groups.

Based on the findings of the survey of residents and mobile network data analysis, three alternative mobility solutions have been identified based on the characteristics of each place:

• Delivery drones for the Mainly Rural study area type

• Demand Responsive Transport for Largely Rural study area

• Micro-mobility for Urban with significant Rural study area.

Finally, the project looked at alternative mobility solutions for rural areas, exploring business models for New Mobility Services and how to adapt urban services in case of a re-deployment in rural areas to run either on a commercially or on a community-led basis, in order to provide socially necessary services.

This webinar is aimed at all stakeholders interested in rural mobility solutions, connectivity between urban and rural areas and how agent-based modelling can support transport policy interventions. Expected audience will span from local authorities, data providers, transport modellers, academics and on-demand mobility services operators.