Community-based Flexible Transport As a Method for Addressing Community Inclusion: Developing and Evaluating Specialist DRT in Highland Scotland
J M Cooper, TRI, Napier University, UK; J D Nelson and S D Wright, TORG, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK; K McInnes, R Edwards, The Highland Council, UK
The Transport to Employment (T2E) service operating as a pilot in East Sutherland provides an example of developing best practive, and offers an opportunity for long term travel supply with a reducing and minimal requirement for public funding.
The development of specialist flexible transport may allow for specific community solutions to be targetted to observed and stated needs. Access to jobs and services is a key issue in the delivery of inclusive mobility, progressive and economically sustainable communities. In no other environment is this as distinct as in remote and rural communities, such as those in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
Allied to this, the likelihood to secure and maintain employment, as well as getting to and from a place of work declines rapidly the more remote an individual is. The Transport to Employment (T2E) initiative of East and Central Sutherland may demonstrate a potential method of reducing the barrier represented by a lack of transport, and prove to be an appropriate method for stepping out of the transport poverty trap.
This paper introduces the concept of, and methods by which rural mobility and inclusive access may be enhanced through the application of innovative demand responsive transport solutions. Using experiences drawn from the pilot Transport to Employment project operating in the East Sutherland area, the paper addresses lessons learned, issues and transferability.
The cost model applied to the scheme is presented and scrutinised and an assessment of the benefits to society is presented using Social Return On Investment (SROI) analysis as a means of quantifying this. From this analysis the sustainability of such schemes can be judged and the case for attracting cross-sectoral funding streams informed.
The paper concludes that specific and targetted solutions may be possible without reliance on long term public funding, and in the case of the T2E pilot offer a high ratio of social return to small levels of investment.
Association for European Transport