The three-year Future Integrated Transport Link Programme (FitLink) will offer £9 million for proposals which tackle one or more of the following four objectives:

  • better public transport
  • better access to public transport
  • sustainable freight transportation
  • understanding and influencing how people choose to travel.

Announcing the new funding scheme, examples of potential projects were given. These include:

  • fleet management
  • logistics and supply chain management
  • journey time reliability and its consequences for people’s choice of transport mode
  • improvements for pedestrians and cyclists
  • improving access to public transport.

FitLink is expected to build on work undertaken by two earlier funding schemes. Their combined funding levels over 8 years was more than £20 million.

Jointly funded by the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the FitLink scheme will cover up to half the cost of research projects. It is part of the larger Link programme operated by the Department of Trade and Industry as the Government’s principal mechanism for supporting collaborative research partnerships between UK industry and the research base.

“It has got the opportunity to accomplish quite a lot,” Peter Gazey of Bikerail told edie. Bikerail is a transport consultancy that promotes the integrated use of trains and cycling. Commenting on the scheme’s stipulation that organisations applying for funds find 50% of project costs internally or from another funding partner, Gazey says it’s a sign of the times. “Everything in the future is going to be on a matched funding basis. Organisations have got to have the will and commitment to find a funding partner.”

Howard Wyborn will manage FitLink as programme director.

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