Britain’s Department for Transport has published its Future of Mobility Urban Strategy, setting out its approach to maximising the benefits from transport innovation in cities and towns.
The 78-page document details the principles the government says will guide its response to emerging transport technologies and business models and also contains details of the next steps for the government’s Future of mobility grand challenge.
It says that new technology, if successfully channelled, has the potential to deliver step-change advances for society, the environment and the economy which could boost productivity and investment, increase export opportunities for UK companies and create high-quality jobs.
It then sets out key principles to facilitate innovation in urban mobility for freight, passengers and services:
1 New modes of transport and new mobility services must be safe and secure by design
2 The benefits of innovation in mobility must be available to all parts of the UK and all segments of society
3 Walking, cycling and active travel must remain the best options for short urban journeys
4 Mass transit must remain fundamental to an efficient transport system
5 New mobility services must lead the transition to zero emissions
6 Mobility innovation must help to reduce congestion through more efficient use of limited road space, for example through sharing rides, increasing occupancy or consolidating freight
7 The marketplace for mobility must be open to stimulate innovation and give the best deal to consumers
8 New mobility services must be designed to operate as part of an integrated transport system combining public, private and multiple modes for transport users
9 Data from new mobility services must be shared where appropriate to improve choice and the operation of the transport system
Officials say the review will explore “regulations around new types of vehicles including e-scooters and e-cargo bike trailers, how sharing data can improve services by reducing congestion, and how journey planning and payment can be made more simple”.
It will also “explore modernising laws from the 1800s that are providing a barrier to innovation” – in terms or private hire vehicles, with further regulatory reviews in other areas including micromobility.
The Government is also launching a competition for up to four new future mobility zones, backed by £90m, to test ideas to improve journeys. Ideas to be considered in the competition will include smoother payment systems, better, more up-to-date travel information and the use of innovative forms of transport, officials said.
Future of mobility minister Jesse Norman said, “We are at a potentially pivotal moment for the future of transport, with revolutionary technologies creating huge opportunities for cleaner, cheaper, safer and more reliable journeys.
“Through this strategy the Government aims to take advantage of these innovations; connecting more people and bringing big benefits we hope for both the economy and the environment.”
In response to the strategy’s publication, leading consultants WSP have been positive with the company’s Executive Director and UK Head of TransportRachel Skinner saying, “We would wholeheartedly agree that the creation of urban mobility zones offer some of the best potential to create visible, positive change that makes the best of a new transport strategy and technologies to create better places where many of us will choose to live, work and socialise in the future.
“The concept of focusing on a specific zone is one that we’ve advocated over the past few years and allows forward thinking local authorities such as Birmingham to give people a high quality transport solution at their front door”.
Giles Perkins, WSPs Head of Future Mobility added, “Today the government clearly recognised the potential that Future Mobility has in creating better places, improved lives and better access to opportunities. Making transport easier for all is essential and the strategy has the potential to improve choice, reduce barriers and provide equity.
“The Future of Urban Mobility zones provide a unique opportunity to deliver game-changing mobility, at scale, kick-starting what could be the biggest change transportation has seen for decades. WSP is committed to continue helping DfT and urban local authorities up and down the country drive forward this agenda”