Fleet News

Government to trial drones and e-scooters in £90m transport review

scooter, e-scooter

The Government has launched a consultation to investigate the use of micromobility vehicles, flexible bus services and mobility as a service (MaaS).

A £90 million funding boost will lead to the trials of new transport innovations.

The aim is to consider how people can make small changes to their everyday travel decisions and whether they could choose to walk, cycle, bus or one day scoot instead of take the car.

One of the projects tested will see drones carrying medical supplies from clinics on the Isle of Wight to hospitals on the mainland. This will help speed up diagnoses by cutting out time spent journeying on ferries and roads. Once trials are complete, the drones could eventually be used to transport chemotherapy kits to save time and potentially lives.

The Government will also consult on the use of e-scooters and the impact they may have on UK transport. Requirements for both e-scooters and those using them are being explored to make sure they are safe for use on roads. This includes a minimum age and vehicle standards as well as insurance requirements. The review will also consider if local authorities should have extra powers to manage the impacts of e-scooters on public space, for example where they can be parked.

The trials will take place in three new ‘future transport zones’. The zones will provide real-world testing for experts, allowing them to work with a range of local bodies such as councils, hospitals, airports and universities to test innovative ways to transport people and goods.

The three new zones set to receive a share of the funding are in Portsmouth and Southampton, the West of England Combined Authority, and Derby and Nottingham - they will all join the existing West Midlands future of transport zone.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, said: “We are on the cusp of a transport revolution. Emerging technologies are ripping up the rulebook and changing the way people and goods move forever.

“Our groundbreaking future of transport programme marks the biggest review of transport laws in a generation and will pave the way for exciting new transport technology to be tested, cementing the UK’s position as a world-leading innovator.

“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. 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 Government is also exploring ​how to test emerging technology in bus, taxi and private hire vehicle services, which could make journey planning and payment simpler and more seamless. For example, by reviewing regulations which could make it easier for bus services to operate in a similar way to on-demand taxis or private hire vehicles.

West of England Combined Authority will investigate booking platforms that give people access to book one journey across multiple modes of transport through the click of a button. It will also work to trial self-driving cars to transport people between Bristol airport, central Bath and the Northern Arc.

Portsmouth and Southampton will test how new technology can improve travel in car-dominated areas outside of major cities and provide the ability to plan journeys through smartphone apps. New options for last-mile deliveries for freight will also be trialled, including e-cargo bikes in cities, and using drones for medical deliveries.

Derby and Nottingham will invest in new ‘mobility hubs’ that integrate and encourage more widespread uptake of public transport, bike hire, car clubs and electric vehicles. It will also create a website and an app to improve information about transport choices and simplify payments for people when travelling.

Read the full Future of Transport Regulatory Review consultation document here.



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