Sustainable Rural Transport: Challenges

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Rural transport is a public good and therefore if examined purely from a private cost basis will always be uneconomic. So I think that the best mean of transport for rural communities is the bus services. There are social benefits arising from better public transport provision in rural areas which include greenhouse gas emissions reduction, social inclusion, and rural development opportunities. For this reason, additional public funding is required to support rural transport provision. A portion of carbon tax revenue (in proportion to that paid by rural people/businesses) should be ring-fenced for rural transport.

It is unlikely that a door-to-door public transport service can be provided to every single household in rural areas. A combination of services at different levels of frequency is needed: High quality national transport services with pickup points on national routes; Better integration of existing services (including bus stops with timetable information and Park and Ride facilities at pickup nodes); Regular commuter services between towns and villages;

Mobility management plans for work-places, schools and sporting activities. Good quality information is needed to link transport systems and enable travel across a range of transport services. A group of transport experts from the Department of Transport should be available to communities within the Rural Transport Programme to enable more professional transport planning. Local and regional authorities should have a role in transport planning.

Sustainable Rural Transport

Over the past number of decades rural areas have undergone dramatic changes. They have shared in a general shift to a service-based economy in which the information and knowledge-based industries play an increasing role, bringing both opportunities and threats. However, this pace of change has occurred in a vacuum of appropriate policy responses. In a policy climate of sustainability, rural areas and...
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