SRITC Gathering 2023

The Scottish Rural & Island Transport Convention (SRITC) Gathering 2023 was held in the Scottish Highlands & took place between the 10th and 12th of May. The main planery session took place on the 11th of May at Boat of Garten Community Hall. Boat of Garten is a small village nestled between Aviemore and Grantown on Spey in the Cairngorm National Park with Loch Garten lying to the southeast of the village.

The morning began with some breakfast and networking before the commencement of the plenary session. Jenny Milne, Founder of Rural Mobility opened the event with a welcome to all participants, both online and in-person. During the Welcome, Jenny outlined the three key themes for the session – Innovations in Rural MobilityDecarbonisation of Rural & Island Transport & Sustainable Rural & Island Travel. 

 

Founder Jenny Milne Welcoming Attendees to the SRITC Gathering 2023.

Panel Session 1:

During the first session of the day, attendees were joined by a number of experts working within the rural innovation ecosystem to discuss the role that technology and policy is playing in developing conventional and unconventional mobility services that are more accessible, affordable and sustainable. There was some particularly interesting discussion in this session around the use of drones in delivering supplies to rural and island communities.

 

Speakers Included:

Andy Ronie, Principle Consultant, Alco Consulting

Jamie Duffy, Co-Founder, Tronius Ltd

Iain McNeil, Managing Director, Whereverly

Joshua Ryan-Saha, Director, Traveltech for Scotland

Etienne Louvet-de Verchère, CEO & Co-Founder, IONA

Michael Armitage, Chief Business Development Director & Founding CEO, BroadwayPartners

 

Panel Session 2:

The second session of the day examined the steps being taken to accelerate the decarbonisation transport networks in rural and island communities via increased use of shared mobility services, and the consolidation of passengers and parcels. Several speakers discussed their experiences around efforts to decarbonise transport, a standout from the session was Rachael Murphy from CoMo UK who talked about the organisation’s successes in making transport sharing a more attractive method in travel within rural and remote areas.

 

Speakers Included:

Rachael Murphy, Director for Scotland, CoMo UK

Andy Hyde, Founder, Go Upstream

Jonathan Chatfield, Head of Policy (Freight and Stations), Rail Delivery Group

Morag Robertson, Senior Logistics Specialist, Jacobs

Paul Finch, Chair, The Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland (SCOTS)

Pranav Chittur, Business Development Manager UK & Nordics, Padam Mobility (A Siemens Mobility Company)

 

This was followed by lunch and an opportunity to use a Smoothie bike and collectively cycle far enough to reach Holyrood Parliament in Edinburgh.

 

Panel Session 3:

The final panel session at The Gathering looked to convene local, regional and international practitioners in order to share their experiences and perspectives on practical solutions that are being implemented to make it easier for locals and visitors to adopt more sustainable modes of travel. the standout from this session was Sheila Gilmour from VisitArran, who spoke about her frustrations with the lack of reliable ferry transport to and from the island in addition to limited public transport access available to the more rural areas of the island.

 

Speakers Included:

Aoife Fleming, Department of Transport, Ireland

Dami Adebayo, Partnerships Lead (Europe), The Routing Company

Neil Morrison, Founder, Fiefdom

Sheila Gilmore, Chief Executive, VisitArran

Jeff Pyrah, Planning Policy Manager, Rother District Council

Jenni Eckhardt, Research Team Leader, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

 

A Rural Mobility Plan Constructed out of Lego.

Following a short coffee break, there was a Workshop session in which attendees were split into breakout groups of around 8-10 and asked to develop a Rural Mobility Plan.

Each group were asked what the core components of a rural mobility plan for Scotland are and how they should be integrated and presented to policy makers to maximise the probability of adoption. Participants were asked to form models out of Lego in order to to create solutions that provide tangible ideas on how to go about developing a rural mobility plan. A spokesperson from each group was then asked to present findings to the wider group.

 

To close the session, Jenny Milne wrapped up the day by sharing her thoughts on the main insights and outcomes that emerged from the Gathering.