March 17, 2020
The government has launched a new intiative to test the introduction of green transport systems and also injected £90 million into funding three experimental ‘future transport zones’ across the UK aimed at establishing whether smart and green technology can be adopted. The new transport zones in the West of England, Portsmouth and Southampton and the East Midlands will be used to test innovations in the movement of people and goods. One project will trial the use of drones for carrying medical supplies from clinics in the Isle of Wight to hospitals in the mainland. This should cut down the time spent moving supplies by ferry or road while speeding up diagnosis.
The consultation to make journeys easier, smarter and greener through new technology has been published as part of the Future of Transport regulatory review. The review will consider how we make small changes to our everyday travel decisions and whether we could choose to walk, cycle, bus or one day scoot instead of take the car.
The government will also consult on the use of e-scooters and the impact they may have on UK transport. Requirements for both e-scooters and those using them are being explored to make sure they are safe for use on roads. This includes a minimum age and vehicle standards as well as insurance requirements. The review will also consider if local authorities should have extra powers to manage the impacts of e-scooters on public space, for example where they can be parked.
The government is also exploring ?how?to test emerging technology in bus, taxi and private hire vehicle services, which could make journey planning and payment simpler and more seamless. For example, by reviewing regulations which could make it easier for bus services to operate in a similar way to on-demand taxis or private hire vehicles. The new winning future transport zones in the UK will test a range of innovations and discover new ways to help people and goods move around, including:
West of England Combined Authority will test innovative tech to bring together people, operators and authorities. The aim is to introduce booking platforms, giving 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?will test how new tech can improve travel in car-dominated areas outside of major cities and provide the ability to plan journeys through smartphone apps. New options for last-mile deliveries for freight will also be trialled including e-cargo bikes in cities, and using drones for medical deliveries.
Derby and Nottingham have been granted more than £15 million to invest in new ‘mobility hubs’ that 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 people when travelling.
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