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19/03/2019

Transport review to consider how people move around cities

Words: Laura Edgar
Traveling around cities / iStock-85943465

The government has announced a review into transport that could see data used to improve congestion and old laws modernised to enable innovation.

The review aims to ‘transform’ the way people and goods move around cities. It will explore regulations for new types of vehicles, such as e-scooters and e-cargo bike trailers and consider how journey planning and payment can be made simpler.

As well as looking at the ways in which data can improve services by reducing congestion, the review will explore how to modernise laws made in the 1800s that now act as a barrier to innovation, explained the government.

Jesse Norman, future of mobility minister, 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.”

A £90 million competition for up to four new future mobility zones to test ideas on how to improve journeys for people across the country has also been launched today.

The government noted that 80 per cent of people in the UK use smartphones now, therefore proposals include: smoother payment systems; better up-to-date travel information; and the use of innovative forms of transport to make travel in towns and cities more convenient, reliable and cheaper.

Mike Hawes, chief executive at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said: “The automotive industry is responding to perhaps the most significant change since the invention of the car. Mobility as we know it is evolving, improving people’s day-to-day lives with implications for all of society. Today’s strategy offers important guidance on the objectives and principles underpinning the future of mobility in towns and cities, while giving industry scope to invest and innovate, developing exciting new services.”

James Harris, policy and networks manager at the RTPI, said: "The RTPI contributed to this review during 2018, both submitting evidence and participating in high-level discussions with ministers and civil servants. This document launched today will help the profession to understand the government's framework for mobility innovation, and the actions already underway to support aspects of this complex agenda.

"Our evidence focused on the critical role of land use planning as an enabler of sustainable mobility choices, both now and in the future, and the need for local resourcing and capacity. We are pleased to see both of these reflected in the review, alongside clear principles that prioritise innovation in walking, cycling and mass public transport as the most efficient solutions for our towns and cities."

Rachel Skinner, executive director and UK head of transport at engineering consultancy WSP, said: “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.

Focusing on a specific zone allows forward-thinking local authorities to give people a high-quality transport solution at their front door, she added.

More information about the Future Mobility Zones Fund and how to apply to it can be found on the UK Government website.

Image credit | iStock

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