Rural mobility: the poor relation

Mr. Brian Dabson
Vice President and COO and Director, Rural Futures Lab
RUPRI – Rural Policy Research Institute
214 Middlebush Hall – Columbia, MO 65211 USA

Dear Brian,

Idea: There is a rich background and inventory of concepts and practices in the field of more imaginative and effective rural mobility that are not getting the attention they deserve. We have a feel for some of these but for now do not have the resources to really start to dig into this important component of the rural development/sustainable mobility dialogue. Which makes me feel a bit like an idiot, and thinking we need at least to find a way to lay a base for future collaboration. A clement place to plant some seeds, do a bit of watering and see what might spring up.

Quick background: New Mobility Agenda at; World Streets at and you might Google Eric Britton for diverse background on me.

As a feeble first step we have recently opened up a Facebook page – at It is at present gloriously uninhabited, but we have found in some of our other targeted work that starting a Facebook Group page is not a bad way to start to gather people and thoughts around a common theme. What happens next will in each case be a function of who comes in with what ideas and energy.

Two things that we can bring to the party that may be useful: a pretty good international perspective (see the following map of readers of World Streets coming in this morning), and rather good knowledge about sustainable mobility innovations and practices, some of which (could) correspond quite nicely to the special conditions of small towns and rural areas.

I don’t know how that might fit in with your activities, but I thought I would give it a try.

With all good wishes,

Eric Britton

Managing Director, the New Mobility Agenda

Editor, World Streets

PS. You would think that I, as someone originally from rural Mississippi, would have done more in this important area, but I have instead concentrated for the most part on transport policy and practice in and around cities. I would like to find a way to make a more active contribution, but sitting here in Paris and not sure how to get started. So hello..

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