33% of the region’s population live in rural areas - 21% live on the coast

The number of people in our region living in rural and coastal areas is significantly higher than the national average.

Car dependency is particularly high in these areas. A lack of public and integrated transport along with poor digital connections creates barriers to people accessing the services they need. With the right investment, transport can play a key role to level up our rural and coastal areas.

Our energising rural and coastal communities priority has two goals:

  • Increase accessibility to education, training, services and employment for rural communities
  • Improve connectivity along our 500 miles of coastline
Increase accessibility to education, training, services and employment for rural communities

As England’s lead Sub-national Transport Body (STB) on rural mobility, we’re working with the other six STBs to support better transport outcomes for rural areas by bringing together data, case studies, innovation, and best practices across England. With this, we can collectively  develop a compelling case for transport investment in rural areas.

We have also established a Centre of Excellence for Rural Mobility which brings together our partners to drive forward transport innovation in our rural region.

The transition to EV needs to happen quickly in rural areas. Most communities in rural locations lack sufficient charging infrastructure and we must consider the charging requirements needed in these locations, especially as there is a lack of alternative public transport.

We will also support our local authorities’ Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIPs) to help deliver the bus provision rural areas desperately need.

Supporting rural mobility across the nation

Across England 17% of people live in rural areas. In the Transport East area that goes up to 33% - this is why we are the lead Sub-national Transport Body (STB) for rural mobility.

Through STBs sharing knowledge, approaches, evidence and best practice, we can improve journeys for people in rural communities across the UK, helping to connect them to the services they need.

The STBs are working with the Department for Transport (DfT) to inform their work on rural mobility. STBs responded to the Department for Transport's call for evidence to improve the understanding of rural transport issues - we are expecting a full strategy in the near future.

Improve connectivity along our 500 miles of coastline

Coastal areas are often poorly connected to the rest of the country. Improved coastal connections are required to help attract and retain businesses and highly skilled employees.

We will evaluate and promote the transport needs of our coastal areas and explore how investment in rail can better connect our these communities with the rest of the region and the UK.

Alongside the freight industry and local authorities, we’ll develop a Future of Freight Plan for the region which will investigate how to reduce freight demand on the road network.