Rural Access Gain, an economic and social analysis of access to work schemes in rural communities of Scotland

J M Cooper, J D Nelson, S D Wright, U Cooper

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The potential for transport to make a positive contribution to rural communities is significant. Both community-based and public transport services provide significant and essential lifelines to the communities and individuals served. The period since bus deregulation in Great Britain has led to a more widespread application of community and Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) services in locations where traditional bus services face tough commercial financial decisions. The ability to access work has a significant impact in the lives of all who wish to work. Rural communities place considerable emphasis on the ability to access opportunity and are likely to face significant challenges where transport availability changes or is not provided. A number of schemes have emerged specifically focused on the development of improved transport to work, which may generically be labelled as ‘access to employment’ schemes. Typically these schemes rely on external funding from non-traditional transport sources and occupy a policy and service delivery area between economic development, social inclusion and transport. This in turn provides challenges when subjected to traditional evaluation methodologies and as a result, the survival and expansion of schemes, many of which prove highly successful in achieving their social and economic goals, may fall between relying on goodwill of diverse funding providers and remaining outwith the traditional ‘transport’ schemes and their sources funding. This paper provides an alternative evaluation methodology for such ‘access to employment’ schemes. The paper is structured as follows. The first section introduces the concept of rural access gain and considers existing contributions from the literature. The main body of the paper analyses Transport to Employment (T2E), a practical example of an access to work scheme operating in Highland Scotland to illustrate the wider social community benefits derived. This is made possible by use of an appropriate evaluation methodology derived from Social Return on Investment (SROI).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTraffic and Transportation Studies
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Traffic and Transportation Studies
EditorsB. Mao, Z. Tian, H. Huang, Z. Gao
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)0784409951, 978-0784409954
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2009

Bibliographical note

Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Traffic and Transportation Studies, Aug. 5-7, 2008, Nanning, China; Sponsored by System Engineering Society of China, American Society of Civil Engineers, Beijing Jiaotong University, Institute of Transportation Engineer (China), State Key Lab of Rail Traffic Control and Safety (China), Beijing Transportation Research Center (China), Japan Society for Transportation Studies, Hong Kong Society for Transportation Studies, and Institute of Highways & Transportation (UK); Supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China)


  • transportation management
  • traffic management
  • optimization


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