CPRE Transport Toolkit
Sustainable Solutions for Rural Communities
Have you ever seen a large bus come through your village with only one or two people on it? Why have rural communities had to take a back seat when it comes to formulating national transport policy? and why does rural transport present such a challenge to policy makers?
We often hear announcements from the Government about large projects that will improve our links across the UK, such as High Speed Rail 2, but people who live and work in the countryside are often left with limited choices for getting from A to B. CPRE want to address that problem and is developing a Transport Toolkit that will equip local people to implement sustainable local transport projects in their communities.
Traffic volumes are increasing fastest in rural areas and the effects are worst in previously tranquil areas. People are afraid to walk and cycle. The cost of driving continues to rise and councils are having to cut their transport budgets. At Hampshire County Council (HCC) local government spending is to be cut by 28% over 4 years. At a recent Hampshire conference, entitled 'Sustainability is a Local Issue', the emphasis was on the need to work in new ways, and to build local knowledge into decision making. The days of the empty country bus are numbered.
The Toolkit, to be mailed out to all CPRE Parish and community group members later this year, will consist of a brochure and a series of theme sheets (also available online). The brochure will outline how joined up thinking about transport and local services can improve communities quality of life. The theme sheets will set out practical options that communities can pick and mix to suit their needs and resources. There will be best practice examples and a step by step guide on how to implement the practical idea.
A list of additional resources can also be found. The Toolkit will also encourage people to liaise with groups in neighboring areas to share resources, ideas and experience and then communities will be in a strong position to lobby their local councillors for the implementation of practical sustainable transport ideas.
CPRE Hampshire is working on two pilots, one in Medstead and Four Marks and the other in Horndean. These projects aim to put the Toolkit into action so that when it is launched nationally later this year, there will be real examples of innovative rural transport solutions.
Medstead together with Four Marks has around 6000 residents. The A31 which divides the two villages has over 1500 cars per hour passing through at peak times. Through their work on the Parish Plan, a household questionnaire carried out revealed that 56.8% of respondents think there needs to be a reduction in traffic while 42% want to encourage more cycling. Just over 20% travel less than 5 miles to work. We have been working with both Parish Plan groups, and Medstead Greening Group on a cycling initiative. This will involve the trialling of electric bikes in the community for three months. Recruits will be asked to keep a diary of their mileage and experiences. This is the first time that electric bikes have been used in a rural area in this way. The current economic and means that communities find people to change their travel behaviour. We will also be working with other cyclist interest groups to encourage cycling in the community for all ages.
In Horndean, there are 13,000 residents who have very poor access to services, such as banking facilities. Although there have been efforts to bring mobile services to the community, residents must travel to Waterlooville, Havant and Petersfi eld for their basic needs. As a result there is higher than average car ownership and congestion. Although there are bus services available, surveys have found that most people don't use public transport. This pilot is to focus on information and mapping. It aims to encourage all age groups to use public transport more by delivering active travel and public transport maps that are user friendly and widely available. This will reduce reliance on the car, and ultimately reduce congestion and make the bus services more viable.
By taking a leading role in piloting aspects of the Transport Toolkit, we aim to provide evidence of innovative ways to get around that do work and are cost effective and will encourage behavioural change. Community led initiatives such as these will enable councils to see what is possible and to put forward such schemes in future bids for funding from the new Local Sustainable Transport Fund recently announced by the Government.
This article was first published in Hampshire Views No. 3 (Spring/Summer 2011).
- Bike trial results
- Electric bike trial
- Transport group
- CPRE policy guidance: transport
- CPRE guidance: transport principles
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