Government launches major review on future of transport
The Government has launched its biggest review into the future of transport, including how a £90m investment can spur new regulations that would improve the uptake of low-carbon mobility across UK towns and cities.
The Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy will funnel £90m into testing for how data innovations can connect with electric vehicles (EVs) to make urban journeys easier, safer and more reliable.
The review will explore what regulations could be introduced to boost the use of e-scooters and bicycle trailers for last mile deliveries – a move that could help reduce travel congestion and reduce transport emissions in urban areas.
The strategy forms a key part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy and sets out nine principles that will act as a blueprint for policy decisions going forward. These include safe, secure and guarded data against cyber threats; access for older people and those with visible and non-visible disabilities; and in line with the Government’s ambition for a zero-emission future.
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.”
The review will attempt to modernise some laws established in the 1800s that are acting as a barrier to modernisation and innovation. In particular, the review will focus on the secure use of data to make route planning and payment safer and simpler.
Last mile, last chance
In related news, the Government has also published a response to its Last Mile call for evidence, which outlines measures that will boost sustainability for last mile deliveries. More than £2m in funding to increase the uptake of e-cargo bikes has been confirmed through the Energy Saving Trust.
Commenting on the review, Zipcar’s general manager Jonathan Hampson said: “We want to go further, both in the adoption of car sharing as a mass market solution and towards a vision of a fully electric fleet by 2025. If we are to achieve these, there needs to be support from the Government in its Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy on two things. Firstly, direction on the role of car sharing in the urban environment.
“Secondly, a commitment to supporting fleets like ours to go electric. This includes, as a minimum, the maintenance of their plug-in car grant but also to the rollout of open access charging infrastructure.”
Zipcar UK has outlined its target to get 800,000 Londoners actively using 9,000 zero-emissions, shared cars in the capital by 2025. More than 250,000 UK residents are now signed up to use its service, with one-third of members having joined up since last January.
Earlier this month, the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) called for major taxation rethinks in order to create a low-carbon transport network fit for the future. Elsewhere, Public Health England (PHE) urged the Government to introduce more ambitious policies aimed at reducing air pollution and minimising its health impacts in cities, including a “redesign” of key urban areas and a ban on drivers idling outside school gates.
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The biggest thing that needs to be sorted is kerbside charging. If you live in an apartment, flat, shared house or any accommodation that does not have a dedicated parking space for your EV how do you charge it? Bloody long extension cable across the pavement??
Around town or city driving means no one needs 300 mile range. 100 would probably do which means more emphasis on small EVs rather than massive SUV and performance models. So consumers need to feel safe in a smaller car and encouraged to ditch the massive "Chelsea" tractors in town and cities. That could be as simple as making residential streets too narrow for them or have narrow contraflow lanes to allow small vehicles to "bypass" one way systems. If it takes you twice as long in your big car because you have to go round the houses but a small (single or twin seat vehicle) can nip down a dedicated lane and cut the corners you’ll soon think about downsizing. I’d go for a modern Messerschmitt style bubble car if I could zip round town and avoid the traffic.
Then focus on all the other forms of low carbon or low energy transport. Improve the cycle infrastructure with dedicated lanes, separate from main traffic flows, secure weatherproof storage, changing and drying stations. Invest in mass transport, such as the trains and tube, so it is fit for the 21st century needs – Ditch HS2 and invest the billions better improving local networks.
Encourage walking. Open up old disused railways as green lanes to link parts of towns and cities and create a pleasant walk to work or school away from the traffic. Use the canal/river side paths to do the same. Bring nature into the city, trees filter the air and convert CO2 to O2 remember.
Ban idling full stop. Not just outside schools but everywhere. Taxi drivers are notorious for sitting at the rank waiting for a fare with their diesel engines running. Stop it now!
But at the same time accept that for some people Electric transport is always going to be a difficult option. Remote areas may never have the charging infrastructure to make a 200 mile range viable so don’t dismiss liquid fuel hybrids completely