Understanding the needs of rural communities is a vital part in planning an effective rural mobility strategy.

These are the thoughts of Peter Ramsey, Associate Director for future mobility at WSP, our guest on this week’s Highways Voices. 

In it, we explore:  why rural mobility is essential to meet Net Zero targets and grow local economies – by reducing car dependency and providing people greater access to local jobs, essential services, and economic centres of activity. Also, we discover how greater rural connectivity can be achieved, through cross-sector collaboration, local council engagement, and planning reform

WSP has recently been appointed to design the first ever rural mobility strategy at the sub-national level for the South-West of England, with Peninsula Transport and Western Gateway sub-national transport bodies.

“Our starting point hasn’t just been around the issues that we find there is understanding the different people who live there. We had to take a deeper dive into the understanding of all those issues.”

Last year, WSP published its ’30-minute Rural Community’ research report which reflects on the key issues rural areas can face, such as social isolation and lacking employment opportunities, and solutions to this making our rural communities more prosperous and sustainable.

“We have studied all those different communities to better understand that network of settlements and communities and how they might work better together so a range of publicly available mobility, whether that be public transport, shared cycles can be the choice, not just focusing on private car use but improving mobility for a wider range of people, particularly those who don’t have access to a car,” added Mr Ramsey.

Last month, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Rural Powerhouse said that inadequate rural infrastructure costs the UK economy £43bn per year.

In today’s podcast you’ll also hear our partner news with details of a new survey to help create Digital Roads for Local Roads, the categories for the ITS (UK) Awards, more about LCRIG’s Innovation Festival and the thoughts of the new ADEPT President Mark Kemp.


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