WSP has been appointed to design a combined Rural Mobility Strategy for the south-west of England.
Commissioned jointly by the Peninsula Transport and Western Gateway sub-national transport bodies, it will be the first rural mobility strategy developed at a sub-national level.
The strategy will help shape rural mobility policy across the south-west by reflecting the diversity of and differences between rural areas. The scope will include smaller coastal and estuarine settlements to understand the additional challenges that remote locations face.
Led by WSP’s Future Mobility team, with support from the Planning and Transport Planning disciplines, the strategy will identify the places most in need of support in rural areas and identify bundles of mobility interventions to support them.
The final strategy document, due to be published later this year, will set out the challenges of mobility in rural areas and a range of interventions to support the UK government’s levelling-up agenda.
Giles Perkins, head of profession, future mobility at WSP, said: “We’re excited to be helping the Peninsula and Western Gateway sub-national bodies tackle the long-standing challenges that face our rural and coastal communities in this ground-breaking commission. By considering in detail the types of communities, the blend of people and businesses that live and work there, and the activities they undertake, we will assess emerging and innovative transport and mobility solutions to address decades long inequities.”
Andrea Davis, chair, Peninsula Transport, said: “Peninsula Transport are pleased to be collaborating with the WSP team and Western Gateway on a rural mobility strategy. Improved rural mobility is vital to the Peninsula and will improve connections between people, places, services and businesses, as well as help to achieve decarbonisation goals.
“Taking both a people and place-focused approach means we can investigate the key mobility issues and concerns facing our rural communities in the south-west. By understanding those experiences, specific needs and aspirations, we can look at targeted interventions that foster better rural connectivity, ensuring that rural communities are not left behind."
Mike Greene, chair, Western Gateway sub-national transport body said: “I am delighted that we are joining forces with Peninsula Transport and working with WSP on this important study. By identifying the challenges rural areas face, we can work together to begin to recommend pilot projects to address these.”
The appointment builds on WSP and law firm Foot Anstey’s 30-minute rural community white paper, published in July 2021, which highlighted the many opportunities to make rural communities more connected.