Opportunity to Research the Potential for Rural Cargo Buses

Mar 2, 2023

Applications are invited for a PhD Fellowship to investigate the potential for rural buses to carry cargo alongside passengers.

The four-year project will assess the ability of cargo buses to improve the efficiency of small businesses’ logistics, reduce carbon emissions from transport, and improve the financial viability of rural bus services.

The National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise (NICRE) and Food and Drink North East (FADNE) are partners in the project, alongside Northumberland County Council (NCC).

Important research topic and practical challenge

The project is being undertaken in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and economic climate putting under threat many rural bus routes that are vital for the communities they serve. During 2022, almost one in 10 local bus services ceased in Great Britain, despite government promises to improve local transport.

This is a significant problem for many local authorities throughout the UK and therefore finding ways of reducing or offsetting operating costs, for example, through the carriage of cargo as well as passengers.

This is an important research topic, as well as a practical challenge.

Northumberland Council highlighted the need to expand goods delivery and enhance the financial sustainability of bus services by improving the use of vehicles which is currently around 25–30% during off-peak hours.

NICRE and FADNE will provide a physical base for the successful PhD student to undertake fieldwork and interact with rural businesses and stakeholders in the North East.

The successful candidate will be based at Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS), University of Manchester. The post is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

The closing date for applications is 10 April. For more information and to apply, please click here.

The integrated PhD and MSc in Data Analytics and Society is part of a set offered by the Data Analytics and Society Centre for Doctoral Training.