Powys and Monmouthshire transport projects awarded Aberystwyth University grants

Professor Charles Musselwhite, Aberystwyth University.

Professor Charles Musselwhite, Aberystwyth University.

31 January 2024

Two community transport projects in Powys and Monmouthshire have received grants from Aberystwyth University.

The University’s Transport and Health Integrated Research Network (THINK), which is funded by Health and Care Research Wales, is supporting work led by Llangattock Community Council looking at the use of community electric buses and car share schemes.

The network is also supporting a project in Monmouthshire to recruit volunteer drivers to strengthen a community car scheme.

Llangattock Community Councillor Kate Inglis said:

"This grant will be so useful, we are a small community council with limited funding. This grant means that we have the resources to carry out a survey and community engagement on the idea of a potential EV community shuttle bus and/or car share scheme.  This could enable residents in outlying rural villages to access facilities in their nearest town, reduce car use and the need for expensive new car parks. In the current climate emergency, we need to explore better options for travelling rurally and to reduce emissions."

Mike Logan, Wellbeing Director at the Bridges Centre in Monmouthshire, added:

“I am looking forward to seeing the results from our research project about volunteer drivers. Our car scheme drivers do amazing work in Monmouthshire and provide so much more than transportation. I am interested in learning what motivates our drivers to volunteer for this work, what keeps them motivated, and what are the barriers for our potential volunteer drivers. I think we can learn a lot about better ways of finding potential drivers, how we can support them to overcome any barriers, and how we can help them to stay motivated. I hope that this research will be of use to other organisations which run a car scheme or are considering setting one up.”

The THINK network is led by Professor Charles Musselwhite from Aberystwyth University’s Department of Psychology and Centre for Transport and Mobility (CeTraM), and Dr Sarah Jones, Consultant in Environmental Public Health, Public Health Wales.

Professor Musselwhite from Aberystwyth University added:

“As a network we were able to offer small amounts of funding to pilot projects addressing the role of transport in creating healthy communities. As well as the project in rural Wales, we are delighted to be funding a collaborative project in rural India.

“This seed funding is to provide a stepping stone to further research, in order to deepen understanding and solve the important transport challenges facing communities in Wales and right around the world.”

Since its founding the network has funded a total of nine projects mainly in Wales but also abroad.

The other project to benefit from a grant will look at the barriers to adopting electric rickshaws in an effort to improve transport links in rural communities in India.

The research will investigate the motives and barriers behind adopting more sustainable shared vehicles, such as electric rickshaws, in rural India. It will also look at ways to tackle those obstacles in order to increase their use.

Dr Anshuman Sharma, Assistant Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, who is leading the project, said:

“The aim of this project is to lay the foundation for upscaling the use of electric micro mobility modes in rural areas of India. As we investigate this, we need consider a number of factors, including cultural differences and local government policies. Following this work, we hope to run trials to vary policies and investigate their effects on take-up. We are very grateful for the support from Aberystwyth University with this work.”