Credit Exeter City Futures

The Engaged Smart Transport project aims to reduce traffic congestion in the region. Image courtesy of Exeter City Futures.

Commuters could help cut Exeter congestion

City commuters could play a pivotal role in helping curb traffic congestion in and around Exeter, thanks to a pioneering initiative.

Researchers from the University of Exeter are seeking volunteers to be the driving force behind the latest scheme to try and encourage people to leave their vehicles at home and use sustainable transport.

The research team, from the University’s Geography department, are looking for helpers to take part in a four-week trial, which runs from September 11-October 6.

During the trial, the successful applicants will receive a message via their smartphone from the team, outlining different commuter choices and information for that day.

Participants will then be asked to provide feedback of how they travelled to work or study that day.

Successful volunteers will need to commute at least 16 days a month (Mon-Fri), be over 18, and not be away for more than a couple of days over the course of the trial.

The scheme is the latest part of the Commute Exeter initiative, launched by the research team last year.

It seeks to determine commuting habits, typical journey details, influencing factors and knowledge of existing alternative transport initiatives from people who travel to and from the city.

Dr Sal Lampkin, from the University of Exeter’s Geography department and part of the project, said: “We have been delighted with the response from the public towards the scheme so far, and are hoping this latest phase will attract a similar response. Participation from the Exeter public is key to the success of this project.

“We really want people who use all methods of transport to get involved – from car and public transport users to cyclists, walkers and runners. We want to try and understand more about people's choices towards how they travel.

The study is part of a two-year Engaged Smart Transport project aimed at reducing traffic congestion in the region, a collaboration between the University of Exeter, Devon and Exeter Councils and four commercial partners -- a consortium led by global IT specialist NTT Data and which includes weather monitoring specialist Vaisala, mobility and energy solutions company Dynniq and digital technology company Black Swan.

The consortium has been awarded match funding by Innovate, the UK Government’s innovation agency and NERC, one of the UK Research Councils.

To be considered for the project, people must register their interest by August 20 by completing a short survey. Successful applicants will then be contacted by the research team by September 4.

Date: 8 August 2017

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