Developing a Rural Transport Strategy

Case Studies > Developing a Rural Transport Strategy

Residents in rural areas are often faced with more limited transport options than their urban counterparts.

Longer distances to access essential goods and services, and a lack of adequate public transport can limit opportunities for some rural dwellers, particularly those without access to private vehicles.

Reflecting such challenges, Ansons Consulting were commissioned by Aberdeenshire Local Action Group (LAG), with support from Aberdeenshire Council, to develop a Rural Transport Strategy for Aberdeenshire. The key aims of the project were to better understand existing transport provision in rural Aberdeenshire and the socio-economic impact of limited access to travel opportunities, and to propose solutions to improve access.

We began the research with a comprehensive review of relevant policies, strategies and regional transport studies, along with publicly available transport service information. This was followed by an extensive programme of stakeholder engagement, including interviews, in-person visioning workshops and a widely-promoted online public survey. The survey was hosted on the platform Maptionnaire, which enabled the travelling public to engage with maps of the region and indicate common journey destinations, to identify examples of good and bad transport provision, and to suggest improvements to infrastructure. Finally, GIS-generated time catchment maps were used to illustrate travel times to key services and locations in Aberdeenshire using different modes of transport.

The project culminated in a forward-thinking and innovative Rural Transport Strategy, which seeks to empower local communities to make positive decisions around transport provision. Importantly, the strategy takes into account the diversity of rural Aberdeenshire in aiming to respond to the needs of all rural residents, and improve access to life opportunities through enhanced travel options.

“As a voluntary group, we asked Ansons to create a Rural Transport Strategy for Aberdeenshire. Our landscape is large and predominantly rural with small villages and hamlets isolated from the day-to-day services other populated areas take for granted. We wanted them to look at existing transport provision in rural Aberdeenshire and help us find solutions to improve access for our rural communities.

Transport is probably the biggest issue currently facing residents in Aberdeenshire especially those living in rural and isolated communities where access to everyday services is difficult and sometimes cost inhibitive for many. This affects our young people all the way up to our older population who simply can’t get to job interviews, to and from work, hospital appointments and shops easily.

Ansons dug deep into what is currently happening in the shire and have identified workable solutions for our group to take forward.

Ansons were professional, thorough and took time to get to know us and our landscape.”

Aileen Longino, Vice Chair of Aberdeenshire Local Action Group