A ground-breaking new pilot project hopes to boost sustainable travel in the Peak District's Hope Valley by joining up different parts of the area's transport system.
Launched by Hope Valley Climate Action and the Foundation for Integrated Transport, ‘Travelling Light’ is the first pilot to explore how integrated rural travel could "open up a new way of life."
Recently, supporters gathered to mark the launch of the pilot in Bamford to hear speeches from High Peak MP Robert Largan, Leader of Derbyshire County Council Cllr Barry Lewis, and the ‘Travelling Light’ team.
Possible interventions could include more e-bikes, a 'Hope Valley Hub' synchronising buses, trains and bike hire, and experimental road closures on back roads on popular weekends to free up space for walkers and cyclists.
Other measures within the project could include more rural electric charging points, 20mph speed limits in villages and back roads, and integrated rail and bus services, with shared timetables, branding, and ticketing.
According to ‘Travelling Light’, 90 per cent of journeys to and from the Hope Valley, which is popular with walkers due to its proximity to Mam Tor and Kinder Scout, are currently made by car.
The nine-month development phase is being funded by the Foundation for Integrated Transport, while the group approaches the Department for Transport and National Lottery for funding for implementation.
‘Travelling Light’ hopes to work with private bus and train operators to improve and synchronise their services in the Hope Valley and better advertise existing services to local people.
Currently, at the development stage, the pilot scheme will start implementation from Spring 2022. The team welcomes all input and contributions to the project.
To get involved, contact Mandy Holden at email@example.com
Mandy Holden of Travelling Light said:
"The Hope Valley is a beautiful place to live and a huge asset to the people of Sheffield and Manchester who are within easy reach of the hills.
"The reality is that most journeys to, from, and through the Hope Valley are made by car. With transport one of the largest sources of emissions in the Hope Valley, we all, visitors, and locals alike need to look again at how we travel.
"From a wellbeing point of view, you only need to take a trip to the Hope Valley on a sunny Sunday to see that congestion, parking, and road safety issues are taking their toll on the way we experience the landscape.
"We would love to see the Hope Valley become a unique low-car destination, where everyone can enjoy the tranquillity of this place without the need to own a private vehicle.
"’Travelling Light’ is about testing and experimenting with what is possible. If, five years from now, the pilot has been a success, not only should it present a new way of life for the Hope Valley, but it should also set a nationally significant example for other rural areas to follow."
Robert Largan MP for the High Peak said:
"It was good to be in Bamford with Hope Valley Climate Action for the launch of the ‘Travelling Light’ project.
"This pilot scheme for the Hope Valley has huge potential to become a national demonstration area for sustainable travel.
"This includes better opportunities to walk and cycle for everyday journeys, excellent public transport, and a switch away from vehicles powered by fossil fuels.
"I'm pleased to be working with residents on this. Well done to everyone involved."