Green transport gets £90m funding boost
The UK government has announced £90m of funding to test new technologies like e-scooters and make transportation more convenient and environmentally friendly.
Three ‘future transport zones’ will be created to allow experts to test transport innovations while working with councils, hospitals and various other local bodies.
One of the projects will see drones carrying medical supplies from clinics on the Isle of Wight to hospitals on the mainland, while the government will also consult on requirements for e-scooters.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said that the UK would also undergo the “biggest review of transport laws in a generation”, adding that the country is “on the cusp of a transport revolution”.
“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,” he continued.
“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.”
The review will explore a minimum age, vehicle standards and insurance requirements for e-scooters, considering whether local authorities should have extra powers to manage the impact.
The government will also review how to test emerging technology in bus, taxi and private hire vehicle services, which could make journey planning and payment simpler.
One of the future transport zones will be in Derby and Nottingham, which have been granted more than £15m to invest in new ‘mobility hubs’ that integrate and encourage more widespread uptake of public transport.
Portsmouth and Southampton will test how new technology can help people plan journeys through smartphone apps, and trial new options for last-mile deliveries through e-cargo bikes.
The West of England Combined Authority will aim to introduce booking platforms, allowing people to book one journey across various modes of transport online, and will also work to trial self-driving cars.
COP26 president Alok Sharma said: “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.”
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Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM