In 2017, Jenny facilitated a number of key organisations to create a two-day event in Inverness for the 2018 Scottish Rural Transport Convention, namely Scottish Rural Network, Transport Scotland and Scottish Rural Action.
This convention was fully funded by Scottish Rural Network and free to delegates attending. Over the two days nearly 200 people attended ranging from community representatives, transport service providers, local authorities and policy makers. The timing fitted with Transport Scotland conducting a consultation phase of the National Transport Strategy. The convention provided a voice to all those involved in rural transport and provided evidence for the new strategy. Themes ranged from access to childcare, tourism, freight and logistics, ageing population, young people, community transport, active and sustainable travel through to inclusive transport and maximizing the benefits of technology.
In 2019, the Connected Places Catapult, a UK Government funded innovation Centre responsible for supporting and growing businesses with innovations in mobility services, sponsored the one-day free event in Carnoustie.
The event attracted the same variety of attendees as 2018 with over 150 registrations. The themes addressed in 2019 built on feedback from the 2018 event and ranged from collaboration and economic growth through to the low carbon economy and community transport. Afternoon workshop sessions enabled all the different stakeholders to work together to focus on the barriers facing rural transport and the opportunities to solve them Solutions emerging from these sessions were compiled into a post-convention report that was circulated to all attendees.
“We found the SRTCs in 2018 and 2019 to be very beneficial to the organisation in a number of ways. Firstly, it allowed us to meet potential partners (Siemens, ORE Catapult to name a few) which has resulted in a potential partnership project with Siemens. New contact with the Catapult has also meant we are “in the loop” in respect of future developments in both transport but importantly for us also renewable energy and battery technology. Secondly the Convention have given us contacts in the Mobility as a Service sector which although hasn’t produced any tangible outcomes at the moment there are undoubtedly opportunities in the future. Thirdly, in presenting and attending both conferences we have spread the work on how we deliver transport. This has resulted in suggestions on how we can improve but also a good number of telephone calls and visits from other organisations to learn from our work. We also made contact with Jenny”.Gordon Muir, Managing Director, The Rural Development Trust
“The conference was definitely worth attending as I also got to meet Jenny. Marr Area Partnership subsequently held an information gathering exercise based on rural transport – MAP had been thinking of looking at rural transport issues, but ideas weren’t very focussed. Attending the conference definitely informed how the info gathering exercise was structured, and some interesting themes have emerged. We are now supporting groups to learn about electric car share schemes, and will be holding a forum for footpath groups in March. The conference was very though-provoking, and while the problem of rural transport will always be tricky to perfect, it was reassuring to be with so many people all intent on solving the same issues.”Kate Redpath, Development Officer, Marr Area Partnership
“As an innovation centre focused on transport innovation that improves the quality of life for people across the UK, the Rural Transport Convention has enabled us to build a deeper understanding of the challenges facing rural and island communities in Scotland while identifying opportunities to provide support via our research and development network, and relationships with policy makers such as Transport Scotland and the Department for Transport” Connected Places Catapult
“From the standpoint of an economic development generalist, the conference proved tremendously useful for both content and networking. The organisers also put a lot of effort into the design of the event, which complemented the themes and added to the networking opportunities. Thanks to the conference, I obtained a solid understanding of the challenges and opportunities for rural transport and I also have developed a range of useful contacts from industry, policy and academic backgrounds.
The main reason I came was to learn about UK expertise and best practice in a rural context. This helped inform the Embassy’s regional economic engagement with Ireland, where regional transport features highly. W e will have some form of dialogue with Irish partners in the future on shared transport challenges. In this regard, because of demographic similarities, Scotland would be the most useful source for UK best practice and commercial solutions” . Harry O’Rahilly, Prosperity and Economy at Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Ireland
“I have been coming to the Rural Transport Convention for the last couple of years. The reason why i travel from South East England is simple – this brilliantly organised and informative event fills a genuine niche. Rural transport and the value that it has to communities that it serves is not an afterthought here. It is front and centre, and gives those who are in this space the chance to share ideas, best practice, and network. I look forward to the next event”James Gleave, Mobility Lab
“98% of Scotland is rural and good transport is a vital part of living in rural Scotland. Poor transport links have been highlighted as a barrier to those who live with poor mental health in rural areas to access services. The Rural Transport Convention is a crucial event to highlight these issues and ensure policy-makers hear the importance of improving rural transport and act upon them. To have the Cabinet Secretary for Transport to come to the Convention proves the importance that this event holds.”Jim Hume. Convener of the National Rural Mental Health Forum
Thanks to MaaS Scotland for helping support SRITC