Innovative ideas to improve city journeys will be tested in up to four new ‘future mobility zones’, it was announced on Tuesday when Government launched its new Future of Mobility Urban Strategy.
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UK cities will compete for a share of £90M of funding with which to set up these trial zones. Initiatives to be tested would include smoother payment systems, better travel information and the use of innovative forms of transport.
“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,” said Transport Minister Jesse Norman.
In a written statement to Parliament regarding the new strategy, he added: “As a country, our approach to these technologies will need to adapt over the coming decades. The Government will need to gather and respond to evidence of the impacts of new mobility technologies and services as they emerge.”
Commenting on the idea of future mobility zones, WSP’s UK head of transport
Rachel Skinner said: “The concept of focusing on a specific zone is one that we’ve advocated over the past few years.” She agreed that the creation of urban mobility zones offers the potential to “create visible, positive change” that leverages new technologies to create better places.
Also announced as part of the Future of Mobility Urban Strategy is a review looking at whether new modes of transport – including e-scooters and e-cargo bike trailers – should be allowed on the public highway.
The review – which will seek to modernise laws from the 1800s with a new flexible regulatory framework – is also due to look at how sharing data can help to reduce congestion and how journey planning and payment can be made more simple.
In addition the strategy sets out Government ambitions to build ‘futures’ thinking into guidance for transport appraisal and modelling, to conduct analysis and research into new transport technologies and their impacts and to explore public attitudes towards these technologies.
Meanwhile the Department for Transport has announced the first winners of the Transforming Cities Fund and awarded £60M to 10 city regions for schemes supporting low carbon vehicles, cycling and walking projects and smart traffic controls.
(Photograph: Jim Nix)