The biggest transport review in a generation is set to transform how garages and motor factors order and distribute goods around our towns and cities, the government has announced.
In its future of mobility: urban strategy, a review will explore regulations around new types of vehicles including eScooters and eCargo bike trailers, how sharing data can improve services by reducing congestion, and how journey planning and payment can be made more simple.
This wide-ranging review will also explore modernising laws from the 1800s that are providing a barrier to innovation.
Alongside this, the government is launching a competition for up to 4 new ‘future mobility zones’, backed by £90 million, to test ideas to improve journeys for people across the country.
With 80 per cent of people in the UK now using smartphones, ideas will include smoother payment systems, better, more up-to-date travel information and the use of innovative forms of transport, making travel in towns and cities more convenient, more reliable and cheaper.
Benefits for economy and cheaper journeys
Future of mobility minister, Jesse Norman, 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.”
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The 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.
Future of mobility grand challenge business champion and former board member of BMW, Ian Robertson, said: “The government’s vision as set out in the ‘Future of mobility: urban strategy’ will ensure that going forward, all businesses within the transport industry create technology that is accessible to everyone, environmentally friendly and economically worthwhile.
“In doing so, the industry can ensure it harnesses its domestic expertise to profit from a growing market for cleaner, safer and more efficient transport.”
Garages and factors can get financial support
Matthew Eastwood, head of transport at Energy Saving Trust, commented: “The Department for Transport’s eCargo Bike Grant Fund will support the adoption of ecargo bikes by businesses in England.
“An ecargo bike has the potential to be faster through traffic than a van and offer much lower operating costs.
“They are a practical, sustainable transport solution for urban deliveries, generating zero emissions therefore contributing to improved air quality.”
Successful applicants will access grant funding for up to 20 per cent of the cost of a new eCargo bike, up to the value of £1,000 per bike, and must sign up to an agreed code of practice.
Applications for the eCargo Bike Grant Fund will open on 1 April; in the meantime, potential applicants can review the eligibility criteria, code of conduct and register an expression of interest here.
The government has also published its response to the Last Mile call for evidence, outlining a range of measures to support cleaner and more sustainable last mile deliveries.
These include increasing the uptake of eCargo bikes and eVans.
In addition, working with the Energy Saving Trust, the government is also now inviting expressions of interest for £2 million of funding to support the uptake of eCargo bikes.
Do you think your garage or motor factor could benefit from using eCargo bikes? Could the government go further with their plans? Let us know in the comments below