The UK Government has launched a public consultation on the role of micromobility vehicles and mobility as a service as part of an assessment of the future of transport.
Published on Monday and open until May 22nd, the call for evidence will focus on three key areas relating to likely changes in transport habits:
- micromobility vehicles
- flexible bus services
- mobility as a service (MaaS)
Those businesses operating in any of the above areas, as well as those with a view on using such modes of transport are asked to submit evidence that details the pros, or cons, of enabling things like electric scooters to be permitted on the road.
A 61 page report on the topic is provide for people to reflect on before submitting their thoughts, within which there is assessment of how inclusive each service will be for all in society, with the opportunities and risks briefly detailed on each transport form.
In her foreword, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport Rachel Maclean writes: “We want transport to be cleaner, safer, healthier, greener, cheaper, more convenient, and more inclusive. As regulators, we will judge every innovation on whether it serves those ends, or undermines them.
“One of our first tasks, therefore, is to try to understand the true benefits, and costs, of each new technology or service. How, for instance, can e-scooters make life cheaper, more convenient, and maybe a bit more exciting? But also: how safe are they, for their riders and for other road users, and how sustainable? Will they really reduce traffic, or will they reduce walking and cycling more?”
At the present time, despite their prevalence and plotted growth of specialist stores, electric scooters are illegal to use on UK roads and shared paths. Public trials are expected soon to test the demand, plot best safety practice and understand the barriers that may stand in the way of uptake.
In Vienna, Austria, where the e-Scooter has been allowed to flourish, demand for the electric scooter has prompted the local authorities to build safe infrastructure that will benefit both micro mobility forms and cyclists.
Demand for electric scooters has recently been forecast to achieve a compound annual growth rate of 8.5% over the next ten years, reaching £13 billion in value by 2030.
During the Coronavirus outbreak a vulnerability of such vehicles has been exposed, with Lime and Bird both pulling electric scooters for fear of shared vehicles contributing to the spread of Covid-19.
Transport Secretary Grant Schapps badges the consultation part of “the biggest review of transport laws in a generation”. The review in its entirety is expected to run for up to three years, though some areas will be fast tracked where significant results are witnessed and deemed worthy of advance.
As part of the testing of concepts a £90 million pot has been set aside to create Future Transport Zones, which will serve as demonstrators of new mobility services, modes and models. It is within these that the closest attention will be paid to trends.
Those wishing to respond can do so by email, or by writing to:
Future of Transport Regulatory Review
Department for Transport
Great Minster House
33 Horseferrry Road