The Government should target a transport-led recovery, a new report from Campaign for Better Transport suggests.
It wants the Government to require local transport authorities to permanently reshape local transport networks based on active travel, shared and public transport.
Furthermore, it wants to accelerate the shift to 100% zero emission road and rail travel through requiring all buses to be zero emission, supporting the growth of a hydrogen fuelled heavy fleet sector in the UK and incentivise the shift to electric vans for deliveries and fleet.
The shift to active travel should also be locked in, it says, with permanent infrastructure changes and ensuring that it does not restrict public transport and bus services.
In addition, it wants e-scooters to be legalised for use on the road and cycle lanes, with a procurement framework for hire schemes set-up and powers for local authorities to issue permits for hire operators.
New regulations allowing trials of rental e-scooters came into force on July 4.
The trials have been fast-tracked in light of the coronavirus and people being asked to avoid public transport as part of a £2 billion investment in green travel solutions.
Fleets should also take note that there is also a call to establish new sources of raising revenue to support the shift to sustainable transport.
Darren Shirley, chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: “The effect of Covid-19 on transport has been seismic and support from the Government has been invaluable in sustaining the sector through the crisis so far.
“But as the UK begins the process of recovery, the Government must now focus its ambition on accelerating the shift to sustainable transport and the delivery of infrastructure improvements that facilitate this to ensure that transport better serves communities across the country.
“By focusing its financial support and policy improvements on public transport, walking and cycling, the Government can transform our transport system to facilitate economic growth, meet legal obligations around carbon emissions and air quality, and tackle social exclusion.”
The new report, Covid-19 Recovery: Renewing the Transport System, outlines how the transport system can be transformed giving a much-needed economic boost.
The report suggests that alternative sources of income should be developed for “long-term and secure revenue streams” for councils so they can be less reliant on Government
“The transport system should reward sustainable transport and embrace the ‘polluter pays’ principle, so that public transport, active travel and shared mobility use are enabled and encouraged, while dissuading the use of polluting or congestion inducing transport services and use,” the report says.
Furthermore, the report highlights how, despite having the powers to implement a workplace parking levy – a levy paid by employers over a certain size in a specified area based on the number of parking places they provide – since 2000, Nottingham is the only city that has implemented a scheme.
The report calls on the Government to make it easier for councils to consider schemes by scrapping the need for them to be approved by the transport secretary.