As part of a wider conversation about loneliness, Monmouthshire County Council's “GovTech Challenge” consists of 5 firms that have been commissioned through central government Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) funding to develop new and innovative ways to address rural accessibility, inclusion and isolation.

One of these projects is being run by Zipabout. They are developing an innovative platform that brings together journey planning enquiries to understand the sorts of journeys people are wanting to take and how they want to travel. Over time, this will start to produce a good picture of travel needs and levels of demand within the county. The longer term idea is that this insight can show where services could be refined (e.g. departure / arrival times tweaked) or where there may be sufficient demand for new services (e.g. on demand services into railway stations from surrounding catchments). The journey planner, in time, will also be able to provide disruption information (e.g. advising if the bus is delayed) and in-journey assistance to help people through their journey.

Zipabout would be immensely grateful if Community Councils could share the ‘beta’ version of the journey planner with people in your community to enable people to start using it. The journey planner offers the chance for people to register and log in (this is so people can receive the in-journey support options that are planned). However, people can use the journey planner without registering. Users can test journeys either by clicking on the map or by typing in their start/finish points in the journey planner form. Testing and trialling the journey planner is a vital part of understanding what works and how both the technology and travel services can be improved to meet the needs of communities.

The journey planner can be found here: https://monmouthshire.zipp.to/

To complement the information gathering over the short-term, Zipabout are also interested in hearing about the sorts of places people want to get to for different purposes. To that end, they have also provided a short survey that should take around 5 minutes to complete. Again, they would be very grateful if this survey could be circulated in your community to gather more feedback and insight.

The survey can be found here:

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/VSSXMG6

If you have any further questions about the journey planner and/or survey, please contact Will Bailey at Zipabout at will@zipabout.com.