Rural transport, on demand

Rural transport, on demand

Bringing digital innovation to the transport network for rural residents of Essex & Suffolk.

Essex & Suffolk
12 months

Accessible and affordable transport is a lifeline for many rural residents. However, with a backdrop of budget cuts, Suffolk and Essex county councils were finding it challenging to sustain the existing transport network and meet statutory commitments.

The councils jointly commissioned FutureGov as part of a Department for Transport (DfT) funded project that explored opportunities for radically redesigning the way rural transport services are supplied.


million people in the UK live in rural areas


Forecast saving in commissioning transport services

We initially carried out in-depth research, including interviews and ride-alongs, with rural residents, transport suppliers, and industry experts. We looked to understand the problem areas and spot opportunities. Over the following months, we designed a concept for a digital platform that enabled existing transport providers to provide a flexible “better bus” service to rural communities by utilising their spare capacity.

We’re delighted to have partnered with FutureGov and Essex County Council to create and test a bold new approach to the challenges of rural transport. FutureGov have really developed our thinking about how a digital led approach could transform the visibility of demand and supply.

– Aidan Dunn, Interim Director of Resource Management, Suffolk County Council

The prototype concept gained the support of leading transport industry experts at the Transport Systems Catapult and DfT due to its unique potential to transform rural mobility. As a result, the concept could increase the number of paying passengers on rural services by over 50% and save up to £4 million for Essex by boosting competitive commissioning.

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