The UK Department for Transport (DfT) is undertaking the “biggest review into transportation in a generation”, and has recently published its strategy for the future of urban mobility. This includes announcing a regulatory review, a £90 million transport innovation fund and its priorities for 2019.
The strategy covers a range of benefits that could be delivered by mobility technologies, around creating safer and more affordable transport which is accessible to all.
Its priority areas are:
- To make the most of opportunities within data sharing and new services through improved choice and the improved operation of the transport system. Sharing and exploiting data shall be enhanced through the development of standards and platforms that ease access to and the use of transport data.
- To promote experimentation and trials, with the launch of up to four 'Future Mobility Zones' across the UK and £90 million of funding for improved transport infrastructure in UK towns and cities.
- To continue the funding of research and development of low carbon automotive technologies.
- To support local areas in putting urban mobility strategies into action.
- To publish guidance on the design and distribution of urban space to assist in decisions around new mobility services.
- To implement an adaptable regulatory framework, including an analysis of how to trial mobility-as-a-service, transport data and micro-mobility vehicles, and the re-shaping of legislation around taxis, buses and private hire vehicles. Such legislation will be combined with existing programmes to regulate other areas of mobility including self-driving and zero emission vehicles, drones and future flight, and maritime autonomy.
Another area of concern highlighted in the strategy is the challenge of adapting policy to the rate of technological development and its adoption by consumers. Due to the uncertainty around these elements, there is a need to adapt and adopt thinking about the future in decision-making procedures, with continued analysis and research around new technologies and their subsequent impacts.
According to the Future of Mobility minister Jesse Norman, “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. The government will also need to look into the future of rural mobility in due course, so benefits of transport innovation can help citizens nationwide. We have an extraordinary opportunity here – to put this country at the heart of the next mobility revolution, and deliver a cleaner, greener, more productive and more inclusive country for future generations.”
The government’s mobility strategy is guided by a set of principles, including:
- New mobility services must lead the transition to zero emission transport.
- New transport options and mobility services must be safe and secure by design.
- Transport involving physical activity (such as walking and cycling) must remain the best option for short urban journeys.
- Reduced congestion should be one of the outcomes of new mobility services through approaches such as sharing rides and consolidating freight.
- Data from new mobility services must be shared where appropriate to improve choice and the operation of the transport system.
- Operation as part of an integrated transport system combining public, private and multiple modes must be core to the design of new mobility services.
- Stimulating innovation and providing the best deal to consumers should be the priorities of the marketplace for mobility.
- Mass transit must remain fundamental to an efficient transport system.
- The benefits of mobility innovation must be applicable to all UK citizens.
Although the DfT considers these principles as vital to defining its vision for innovation in transport, it recognises that “there may be tension or even potential conflict” between elements of the strategy due to the multiple goals and pressures that currently exist within transport policy.
Article first published by ComputerWeekly.com on 20th March 2019.
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