TRL was commissioned by Maidstone Borough Council, on behalf of the Channel Corridor Partnership to undertake a Community Transport Review and Feasibility Study.
The main aim of the study was to identify gaps in public and community transport provision in rural and disadvantaged areas. Upon identification of these gaps, the aim was to promote social inclusion of rural people and those disadvantaged by exclusion from conventional private and public transport services by enhancing transport services and securing a long term improvement in the accessibility of rural and disadvantaged people to jobs, services and social activities.
A two-step approach taken by TRL involved both a desk-based study and the collection of primary data from each of the Channel Corridor Boroughs; Ashford, Maidstone and Kent. The desk-based study involved the collation of existing public and community transport provision within the corridor, involving GIS mapping, which lead to the identification of gaps in provision.
Two questionnaires were developed; the first sampling parish councils to gain an idea of key service provision and access to these key services, and the second to community groups and organisations identifying their perceptions of access to their facility. Both had the aim of identifying areas of particular social exclusion or poor accessibility to transport or key services.
These perceptions were then tested through a series of seminars held in the Channel Corridor, with representatives from various community groups. Results of the desk-based study were compared with questionnaire results and presented to the attendees. The purpose of the seminar was to verify the results gained in the first stages, and then to identify potential community transport solutions.
These potential solutions were then developed further resulting in a range of recommendations for improving community transport in the Channel Corridor area.

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