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Government aims to create a ‘transport revolution’

Words: Laura Edgar
Cycling / Shutterstock_197046800

The government is seeking views on how to make journeys in England greener, smarter and easier using new technology.

The consultation, part of the Future of Transport regulatory review, will consider the small changes that could be made to everyday travel decisions and whether walking, cycling or using public transport would be better than using a car.

A £90 million funding boost will see trials of new transport innovation take place in three new ‘future transport zones’. The trials will run alongside the review, and each will receive a share of the money.

The zones should provide real-world testing for experts on moving people and goods, says the government, which would work with a range of local bodies such as councils, hospitals, airports and universities.

The three zones to receive a share of the funding are in Portsmouth and Southampton, the West of England Combined Authority, and Derby and Nottingham. They join the West Midlands as a future transport zone. 

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “We are on the cusp of a transport revolution. Emerging technologies are ripping up the rule book and changing the way people and goods move forever.

“Our groundbreaking future of transport programme marks the biggest review of transport laws in a generation and will pave the way for exciting new transport technology to be tested, cementing the UK’s position as a world-leading innovator.

“This review will ensure we understand the potential impacts of a wide range of new transport modes such as e-scooters, helping to properly inform any decisions on legalisation. Funding these new zones across the country will also help us safely test innovative ways to get around, creating a greener future transport system for us all.”

Energy secretary Alok Sharma added: “Decarbonising transport is key to ending our contribution to climate change. This review could drive down transport emissions by making greener ways to travel available to more people. Future transport zones will also help to spur low-carbon innovation by providing our best and brightest researchers with testing facilities for the clean transport technologies of the future.”

The zones will test: 

West of England Combined Authority: Tech that brings people, operators and authorities. The aim is to introduce booking platforms to give people access to book one journey across multiple modes of transport through the click of a button. They will also work to trial self-driving cars to transport people between Bristol Airport, central Bath and the Northern Arc.

Portsmouth and Southampton: Tech that aims to improve travel in car-dominated areas outside of large cities and provide the ability to plan journeys through smartphone apps. New options for last-mile deliveries for freight will also be trialled, such as e-cargo bikes in cities, and using drones for medical deliveries.

Derby and Nottingham: More than £15 million will be invested in new ‘mobility hubs’ to integrate and encourage more widespread uptake of public transport, bike hire, car clubs and electric vehicles. It will also create a website and an app to improve information about transport choices and simplify payments for travellers.

The consultation for the Future of Transport regulatory review closes on 22 May 2020. It can be found here on the UK Government website.

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