With a range of shops and services within walking distance, choices about travel for everyday needs are improved

With a range of shops and services within walking distance, choices about travel for everyday needs are improved

Having a focal point in the community can really help to embed a changed approach to travel - equally losing the only shop left can be hard to recover from. Community hubs can involve simply offering more than one service in an existing small shop or even a pub. Or they can be a centre that offers a wide range of travel related and other services. Although the term ‘community hub’ can cover a wide range of concepts and approaches, including the provision of social services and education, the focus here is on those that impact on travel patterns.

The best hubs bring together a range of different functions, people and interests and are easy to reach, such through being situated at a train or bus station, or in a town or village centre. What will work best for your community depends on what’s already there and what is needed. Community hubs can include the following functions directly related to travel:

  • offering advice and information about local travel options to individuals and businesses
  • run community engagement programmes, such as personalised travel planning
  • advice on and sale of transport tickets and passes
  • cycle hire, cycle pools, secure cycle parking and cycle maintenance
  • showers and lockers for people cycling (or running) to neighbouring businesses
  • taxi rank
  • wheels to work scheme - helping those without transport access jobs
  • spaces for car club vehicles and electric vehicle charging point
  • collection point for deliveries for people to pick up after work

These other functions can also fit well, as they can indirectly influence travel patterns:

  • information about local tourism, local jobs and volunteering
  • space for small businesses and voluntary organisations to get established and share facilities like meeting rooms and a reception
  • coworking or work hubs, providing a space for people to work away from the office but without being stuck at home
  • creche
  • place for mobile services, such as mobile library or doctor
  • cafe with refreshments

Some hubs offer training and other activities like keep fit classes to help people get more out of their lives. It’s worth remembering that transport can be a barrier, whether due to a lack of (accessible) services or where there are barriers around accessing it. So even if these are not directly within the scope of a travel plan, it’s worth making the connections.

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