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Digital Demand Responsive Transport
Description and Reason for Review
Maidstone suffers almost daily from traffic jams and the inconvenience and increased pollution that they cause options for public transport have and continue to be cut.† This is currently a problem and will likely get worse.
Digital Demand Responsive Transport (DDRT) is unlike traditional bus services in that it operates along more flexible routes in a more on-demand way.
These services pick people up near their journey origin and drop them at or near their destination, creating routes based on demand and data from their user base.
In April 2022 the government produced a toolkit for local authorities (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/demand-responsive-transport-local-authority-toolkit/demand-responsive-transport-local-authority-toolkit ), I suggest the committee undertake to perform part of the first step proposed by the toolkit including:
∑ Familiarising ourselves with DDRT including the 2017 pilot programs (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/923785/total-transport-feasibility-report.pdf ), other research e.g. Human Factors in Exclusive and Shared Use in the UK Transport System (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/773669/humanfactors.pdf ), and schemes.
∑ Discussing with expert support the proís and conís of DDRT scheme types and the impact on serving urban, suburban and rural areas
∑ With supporting information of current / projected population density, bus routes (including those recently closed or due for closure), and where possible utilisation for urban and suburban Maidstone define a suggested zone of operation.
∑ From previous research suggest a form(s) of DDRT that may be suitable for Maidstone.
Councilís Strategic Plan
Embracing Growth and Infrastructure
Safe, Clean, and Green
A Thriving Places
Homes and Communities
The desired outcome of the review would be to be able to outline top level approaches for the utilisation (or not), of DDRT in Maidstone any its potential to improve public transport to provide initial guidance on any future feasibility assessment and adoption as covered by the later steps of the governments DDRT toolkit.
N.B. The desired outcome is not to produce a detailed plan for the future of DDRT in Maidstone.† It is simply to introduce it into the discourse with some considered suggestions from the working group members on behalf of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.† This is reflected in the short time requested in the timescales.
Two working group meetings:
The investigation meeting would involve the working group after familiarisation with the governments supporting materials, suitable further case studies. It would require Officers familiar with the topic from MBC and KCC, and potentially third parties (the charity CoMoUK advise on their website that they are happy to be approached).† The purpose of the initial meeting is to be able to ask more nuanced questions after familiarisation to gain a better understanding with which to form top level suggestions.
The recommendation meeting would involve the working group discussing recommendations that could be made to the executive on DDRT concerning potentially suitable scheme types and areas of operation.
It is suggested that the review be kept light (with the time consuming task of familiarisation occurring offline and prior to the working group meetings), and the two meetings (expected duration of less than 2 hours each), should occur within one month of each other.
Link to CfPS effective scrutiny principles
Select which CfPS effective scrutiny principles would be met through conducting the review:
∑ Amplifies public voices and concerns
∑ Drives Improvement in Public Services
Head of Spatial Planning and Economic Development