Multi-disciplinary UWE team commissioned to research the health benefits of community transport services

Issue date: 23 November 2011

A multi-disciplinary research team from UWE's Centre for Transport and Society and the Department of Health and Applied Social Sciences has been selected by Norfolk County Council (NCC) to carry out innovative new research on the benefits of Community Transport. The project will look to explicitly quantify the benefits in health and well-being for users of a selection of such schemes in Norfolk, helping NCC and the Health Service to better understand those benefits.

The research team will bring together skills in understanding transport behaviours as well as health economics and social benefit analysis, and the project will look to provide evidence using a bespoke, light-touch 'Social Return on Investment' (SROI) approach.

The research is very timely, as the importance of community-based transport has risen significantly following recent well-publicised reductions in local authority funding of public transport (particularly in rural areas like Norfolk). Although community transport has long been understood to be important, often providing 'essential' mobility services for those least able to find that mobility elsewhere, it is now highly topical. The transport minister Norman Baker announcing new funding for community transport from the government in March this year, aimed at 'kick starting' such services in rural England.

As a contribution to this renewed interest, it is expected that the outputs of this research will contribute 'quantifiable' evidence on the health and well-being benefits of community transport, underpinning the importance of current policy in this area and justifying future investment in such schemes.

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