The Department for Transport is preparing to pick the three winners before the end of the year that will gain access to a share of £70 million of Future Mobility Zone funding.
Seven areas of the UK already made it through to phase 2 of the competition in May and they all submitted their plans to the DfT by the end of September this year.
The competition was announced earlier this year after the Government set out its approach to innovation in urban transport with its Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy.
The Government has already set out the major areas it wants to see covered from the bids. This includes encouraging the sharing and harnessing of data, through the creation of standards and platforms that make it easier to access and use transport data, supporting the automotive industry to adapt, by continuing to fund the research and development of low carbon technologies and preparing the urban environment, through publishing guidance to support local decisions about the design and allocation of urban space.
The final three competition winners are expected to be revealed before Christmas.
Overview of each of the area projects in the running:
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority
The Greater Cambridge Future Mobility Zone (FMZ) – will be focussed on Cambridge City. However, it will also cover the area covered by South Cambridgeshire District Council as well as travellers from Cambridgeshire including Peterborough, Fenland, East Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire. Plans include micro-mobility solutions (electric scooters/ebikes), autonomous shuttles, smart transport network management and advanced payment options.
Derby and Nottingham
The area will look to trial new vehicles, smart ticketing, data driven insights and the sharing economy to help future-proof travel.
The FMZ will cover the Derby and Nottingham conurbations and growth areas including the proposed HS2 East Midlands Hub Station, and East Midlands Airport and East Midlands Gateway employment zones.
The bid seeks to integrate information and payment options to support uptake of new and existing mobility services.
Greater Manchester Combined Authority
If successful, Greater Manchester’s Future Mobility Zone (FMZ) will integrate existing modes to boost mass and shared transport in three areas across the city-region and enable car-free lifestyles.
Working to decarbonise the region’s transport network through a greater take up of shared bikes, car clubs and pioneering work with connected autonomous vehicles, which will be brought together by a single digital system, the scheme will provide access to services and a platform for trialling mobility credits. By exploring different models in the areas, the GM FMZ will tie into the city-region’s 2040 transport strategy while building on the expertise from other mobility schemes including the city’s Bee Network and European MaaS projects.
If funding is secured Norwich’s project will deliver access to comprehensive travel information for all transport modes in Greater Norwich via an app, which will enable users to compare different journey options. There will be a “substantial increase” in the provision of electric forms of transport, including buses, cycles and car club vehicles, as well as the potential trialling of "new forms of transport". Norwich would also implement behaviour change campaigns to encourage the use of sustainable and shared forms of transport.
Portsmouth and Southampton
The FMZ for this area will focus on developing new ways to plan and pay for travel, with the goal of deepening the use of sustainable modes of transport. This includes developing a mobility as a service platform, as well as growing car and bike sharing offerings and the SolentGo travelcard. This project would also look at sustainable urban logistics to develop innovative approaches to address the impacts of freight and logistics in urban environments. This could include trialling drone deliveries for medical supplies.
West of England Combined Authority
Bristol, Bath, the Northern Arc (including Avonmouth, Severnside, Emersons Green and the North Fringe) and Bristol Airport will be the main focus for the FMZ. Its pitch looks to put together a transport data hub anda mobility In addition, each area will host a range of tailored future mobility solutions, co-developed with communities, partner organisations, local employers and stakeholders, in order to address local transport issues and opportunities.
West Yorkshire Combined Authority
This region is looking for £27 million to transform the way people travel in Leeds City Region.
The FMZ plans, aim to provide people with convenient, affordable and more sustainable alternatives to private cars, helping to reduce congestion and pollution.
If successful, the Combined Authority will create “mobility hubs” within communities across the City Region, including locations in Harrogate, Calderdale and Kirklees, enabling people to access a range of transport options – including e-bikes, car club vehicles, taxis and smaller responsive buses that will complement the existing bus and train network – on demand.
These services will be provided in locations including Wakefield, Leeds and York. This will be supported by digital technology allowing people to plan, book and pay for their journey across the full range of transport options in one place.
It will also reduce the cost of travel through the creation of “mobility credits”, which will enable people on lower incomes and those with access requirements to pay for flexible transport options to suit their needs.