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New pilot hopes to transform travel in the Hope Valley

The Travelling Light project aims to boost the use of e-bikes and create a transport hub in the Peak District.

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Campaigners at the launch of Travelling Light in the Hope Valley on Saturday.

Travelling Light.

A groundbreaking new pilot project is hoping to boost sustainable travel in the Peak District's Hope Valley by joining up different parts of the area's transport system.

Launched by Hope Valley Climate Action and the Foundation for Integrated Transport, Travelling Light is the first pilot to explore how integrated rural travel could "open up a new way of life."

Possible interventions could include more e-bikes, a 'Hope Valley Hub' synchronising buses, trains and bike hire, and experimental road closures on back roads on popular weekends, to free up space for walkers and cyclists.

"The Hope Valley is a beautiful place to live and a huge asset to the people of Sheffield and Manchester who are within easy reach of the hills," Mandy Holden of Travelling Light told Now Then.

"The reality is that most journeys to, from and through the Hope Valley are made by car. With transport one of the largest sources of emissions in the Hope Valley, we all, visitors and locals alike, need to look again at the way we travel."

"From a wellbeing point of view, you only need to take a trip to the Hope Valley on a sunny Sunday to see that congestion, parking and road safety issues are taking their toll on the way we experience the landscape."

Other measures within the project could include more rural electric charging points, 20mph speed limits in villages and back roads, and integrated rail and bus services, with shared timetables, branding and ticketing.

According to Travelling Light, 90% of journeys to and from the Hope Valley, which is popular with walkers due to its proximity to Mam Tor and Kinder Scout, are currently made by car.

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Travelling Light.

The nine-month development phase is being funded by the Foundation for Integrated Transport, while the group approach the Department for Transport and National Lottery for funding for implementation.

Travelling Light are hoping to work with private bus and train operators to improve and synchronise their services in the Hope Valley, and better advertise existing services to local people.

"We would love to see the Hope Valley become a unique low-car destination, where everyone can enjoy the tranquillity of this place without the need to own a private vehicle," said Holden.

"Travelling Light is about testing and experimenting with what is possible. If, five years from now, the pilot has been a success not only should it present a new way of life for the Hope Valley, but it should also set a nationally significant example for other rural areas to follow."

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