Seeking Innovators: DfT Funds Rural Transport Projects

The Department of Transport (DfT) is championing a transformative initiative to revitalise transportation in rural areas, focusing on integrating innovative practices and enhancing service quality for users. This endeavour aims to strengthen connections within rural communities, significantly improving their access to essential services and opportunities.

At the heart of this initiative is the accelerator programme, which supports Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as well as local authorities. By offering 6 to 8 projects up to £150k each, the programme seeks to adopt novel approaches to rural mobility, providing more transport choices and fostering better connectivity. These projects will demonstrate potential solutions to challenges outlined in DfT's rural transport innovation guide, expediting the uptake of innovative solutions for rural transportation.

Improving services and providing greater choice are central to this programme. Initiatives like the £2 bus fare cap and investments in bus services are steps toward making rural transportation more affordable and efficient. Noteworthy projects, such as the North Yorkshire Zero Emission Bus Scheme and the Nidderdale Plus Minibus Pilot, exemplify these efforts, showcasing how investment and innovation can significantly uplift rural transport services.

Key to the success of this initiative is the support for innovation that benefits communities and businesses. This includes not only financial investment but also building capability and capacity within local authorities and businesses. The DfT has established principles for the future of rural mobility, ensuring a structured and strategic approach to innovation in this sector?.

“This initiative offers a valuable opportunity to address some of the challenges we frequently encounter in rural mobility. While it aligns with our advocacy for better connectivity and service quality, I encourage eligible parties to consider applying. Your participation could contribute to meaningful advancements in our rural communities, reflecting our shared goal of improved and innovative rural transportation."

Kerry Booth, Chief Executive of the Rural Services Network

Applications close at Midnight on 29 February 2024, Apply Here
You can read the DfT’s Rural Transport Innovation Guide Here


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