Drone deliveries and seamless end-to-end journey routing may join UK’s rural cities and communities

  • Request evidence to find ways to improve rural transport connectivity
  • We are looking for ways in which transportation in the 21st century – from e-bikes to drones – can be used to move people and packages from place to place more easily
  • The launch coincides with the release of the government’s response to the call to review the future of transport

Drones deliveries and digital mapping for easily accessible walking and cycling routes could soon become a reality for people living in rural areas across the UK following a call for evidence to support the development of the Government’s Future of Transport: Rural Areas strategy has been published.

The Future of Transport: Rural Strategy – Call for Evidence, published today (November 24, 2020) by Minister of Transport Rachel Maclean, explores how the benefits of transport innovation can be harnessed for all, including those who live and work in rural areas.

At the Financial Times’ Future of Mobility conference, the minister calls on business and transport groups to revolutionize travel in the UK’s cities, villages and hard-to-reach areas, and make it easier for people to access jobs, education or health care.

The call for evidence examines how services and communities can be brought into the 21st century by improving road safety and connectivity in people’s everyday lives.

Secretary of Transportation Rachel Maclean said:

This call for evidence provides us with a unique opportunity to harness the community spirit of rural areas to understand how innovation in transport can benefit the people and communities who need it most.

More than ever, it is important that we harness the power of transport to get greener again and change the way people and goods move around the UK.

The distance between a person’s home and their nearest mass transit hub is often around 8 km in rural areas, which is a significant barrier to access to public transport and services. The call for evidence addresses the question of how linking different digital platforms can lead to a more seamless experience for people, allowing them to plan, book and pay for travel in one place, as well as travel across multiple modes link.

The call for evidence also examines how the increasing popularity of e-bikes, alongside digital map technology and apps, can lead to more active travel in rural communities. This, along with better access to walking and cycling routes, could help open up active routes that might otherwise remain unknown.

Ways for drones to make deliveries in rural or remote cities and areas are also being explored. Drone deliveries are particularly suitable for longer distances in rural areas and could shorten delivery times and help reduce pollution. This could allow rural locations to lead the way in low carbon deliveries.

Findings are also being sought as to how transport methods in the area of ​​“micromobility” – such as B. E-cargo bicycles – can be integrated into rural transport networks to fuel the changing face of the rural economy and make domestically based companies more accessible to markets.

The feasibility of fully automated and passenger services in rural areas is also being examined, and small electric aircraft may be able to move goods and people efficiently, especially in communities.

Today’s announcement comes as the Department of Transport also publishes its response to the Future of Transport Review, which aims to create a more innovative and flexible legal framework that better suits the needs of both road users and innovators.

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