News & opinion
Read the latest news from across the whole sector that highlights the development of affordable, accessible and low-carbon shared mobility
articles - 5 Apr 2019
DfT Future of Mobility Report Review
Mobility not modesThe report denotes a change in language and intent: the emphasis throughout is on mobility rather than transport. Mobility is our ability to access goods and services over space and time, transport is the mode which takes us there. The emphasis is therefore on accessing said goods or services, not on the relative performance of the mode in question. The strategy rightly cites the danger of a siloed and fragmented marketplace as a threat to delivering optimum mobility services.
Guiding PrinciplesThere is a recognition that the moment of opportunity has comes with the advances in vehicular technology, data science, mobile technology and artificial intelligence. However, these advances alone won’t deliver the urban transport system that reduces congestion, improves air quality and makes our cities liveable for years to come. On this, the strategy will be underpinned by nine principles which will facilitate the innovation in urban mobility for freight, passengers and other services. We consider this principle-based approach a very positive step for the provision and delivery of urban transport. The DfT Principles are inspired by Robin Chase’s well-known 'Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities' in North America and have been interpreted into a set of well-constructed useful framework for transport planning in the UK. The strategy has recognised the moment of opportunity that comes with the advances in vehicular technology, data science, mobile technology and artificial intelligence. However, this alone won’t deliver the urban transport system that reduces congestion, improves air quality and makes our cities liveable for years to come.
Micro-mobilityGetting into more detail on the nuts and bolts of the strategy makes for positive reading. The first of these is the regulatory review into micro-mobility modes. With advances in mobile phone and battery technology, a suite of new modes and operations have come to market. However, our current vehicular and licensing legislation is not-fit-for-purpose. The regulatory review will encompass micro-mobility modes, Mobility as a Service, transport data, bus and taxi licensing. CoMoUK hopes this serves to legalise micro-modes such as E-Scooters, but only in ways that create the tools for local transport authorities to manage and regulate them. One of benefits of the CoMoUK accreditation is that, in the absence of formal regulatory tools to manage shared modes it has provided a voluntary framework for minimum standards for operators. The accreditation schemes could provide the basis for future regulatory framework which would allow government in their efforts to manage and regulate these new modes plans to build-in flexibility in to the framework and we will be making this point in our formal response to the DFT strategy.
Spreading the benefits to allAs the strategy recognises, there is an opportunity to drastically improve our urban transport systems. The gains could be great. To this end, we want and need the mobility providers who want to innovate and change the way we move for the better. The government wants to harness this innovation by incentivising cleaner, safer and more efficient modes. Importantly the strategy has underlined the importance in creating an environment where new mobility providers can flourish and prosper. This is reflected in the second principle which refers to the need for the benefits of technological gains to be realised by all segments of society across all parts of the country.
Turning principles into realityThe strategy is light on funding for initiating the transition to more sustainable modes, particularly walking and cycling which is key for these short urban trips which make up a significant proportion of journeys in our cities. The strategy points to the 45% of urban trips which are under two miles. Principle 3 (promoting walking and cycling for short local trips) will need to be underpinned by financial commitment from central government to ensure active travel has the best chance of being the go-to mode for short urban trips. The strategy makes little reference to the use of punitive measures or controls to curb private car use. We welcome, however, that it points to the alternatives to private car use such as car clubs or lift-sharing. The ‘Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy’ sets forth a framework for delivering the urban transport system that is definitely needed and welcome. Our journeys of the future could be faster, cleaner, safer and more affordable, bringing benefits to both individual journeys and society at large. We agree with the strategy that in the future we should continue and increase to use our mass transit networks. To do this, and as the strategy rightly says, it makes sense to move away from the ownership model of transport, a system which drives inefficiency, and transition to the usage model of mobility instead. CoMoUK looks forward to seeing the DfT vision for the Future of Mobility become a reality and will continue to support shared mobility development as a key linchpin. If after reading this review you have any questions or would like further comment from CoMoUK please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us through firstname.lastname@example.org
Department for Transport Principles
articles - 21 Nov 2018
What would future mobility look like if designed by real people? Alistair Kirkbride for LTT Mobility Matters
So how will people want to travel? MaaS gets a lot of press, but only recently are results of pilots emerging. These get interesting as they show what people actually choose and prioritise when services are presented side-by-side. The ESP group’s Navigogo project involved target users – young adults in the Dundee and north Fife area – in the co-design of the Navigogo MaaS platform. The main demands were facilities such as personalised journey planners, deal matchers, easy payment and booking, information on destinations and taxi fare splitters i.e. facilities to make planning easy, reduce cost and reduce the sense of “missing out” on the best deals. This reflects Transport Focus’s 2018 work “Using the bus: what young people think” (LTTZZZ). This showed that younger people (late teenagers) would like bus services to be easier to use (simpler fares, mobile tech for planning and ticketing), better value for money with better facilities for people to stay connected whilst travelling i.e. wifi and at-seat charging. The value of being connected trumping travel keeps coming to the fore in research. I recently took part in a workshop at a MaaS symposium that revealed some really interesting insight into our possible views on modes in a MaaS system. The participants (imagine those who attend MaaS symposia to gauge the nature of the sample) were asked to convert their existing mobility lifestyles to a private-car-free MaaS lifestyle, then score each mode by how pivotal it was (to make their MaaS work) and how attractive it was to them. And the answers? Though core public transport (intercity & local trains, buses, underground & trams) were pivotal, 1-way bikeshare was the second most attractive mode (after the underground), followed by trains (intercity, local) then 1-way car clubs. Interestingly, ride hailing came quite a way down the list. From a co-mobility / shared transport perspective, I clearly like to hear this, but what does it tell us about future mobility, especially if the user really is going to be more central in defining services? If I was going to extract main attitudinal themes just from the above evidence to help define a mobility system, they would probably include the following. 1. Personal control of journey-making and personal space; 2. Value for money; 3. Simplicity, transparency & fairness, especially regarding cost; 4. Reliability & back-up service “insurance”. This isn’t new, but how do these translate to a mobility system? Here’s one stab at translating what people seem to want into a mobility system:
- mass transit would remain the backbone – both inter-city, inter-settlement and within cities & towns. It provides the efficiency to move lots of people along the main demand corridors in an affordable way.
- demand-responsive & ride sharing services would both feed mass transit and to pick up the finer-grained matching between users that DR services are able to do.
- point-to-point services (1-way car sharing, bike sharing, scooters and taxis (conventional or ride hailing)) would allow for journeys where larger scale matching isn’t viable – people or small groups want to go from point to point individually, either because the points are otherwise difficult to access or there are special circumstances (large loads, special needs etc)
- back-to-base car (sharing/rental) and bike services would provide ways of people making independent back-to-base journeys over different timescales.
News - 4 Jun 2018
The evolution from Carplus Bikeplus, echoes the evolution of shared mobility
CoMoUK's intention is to play a leading role in the UK's transition to integrated mobility solutions designed for the public good.
CoMoUK works to maximise public benefit of shared modes, car clubs, bike share, 2+ ride share, and emerging modes such as "on demand" buses and scooter sharing, by supporting their development and nurturing innovation.
The charity carries out research to illustrate the impacts of the sector, leads on innovative development projects to maximise benefits to all and facilitates the sharing of best practice. In addition CoMoUK offers technical advice and consultancy services.
Newsletter - 1 Jun 2018
Shared Cars News - 30 May 2018
Car Clubs are growing in Scotland
The full report and infographic highlighting the key findings are available here.
News - 10 May 2018
UK Bike Share Forum
The Forum meetings usually occur monthly by telephone conference as well as through conference events.
Discussions cover latest funding opportunities and sector innovations as well as providing scheme managers with a chance to share challenges and experience.
The previous topics have covered:
• National users survey
• Procurement process
• Electric bikes
• Bike share safety
• Community engagement and responses to theft & vandalism
• Quality assurance
• Different models of bike share
Shared Bikes News - 25 Apr 2018
Expansion of successful social inclusion project in Glasgow inspiring refugees and women to cycle
The partnership is a collaboration between Bike for Good, nextbike, Bikeplus, Glasgow Centre for Population Health and Cycling Scotland. The organisations involved are: Red Cross (Chrysalis project), Night Shelter, Govan Community Project, Kinning Park Complex, Central and West Integration Network, Maryhill integration network, Youth Community Support Agency (YCSA), Blue Triangle, Thenue Housing Association, New Gorbals Housing Association, Saheliya, LGBT Mental health and wellbeing. Victoria Leiper, Head of Projects at Bike for Good said “Although the nextbike scheme is incredibly popular in Glasgow, we know that there are significant barriers which prevent more people from accessing it. These are often financial, language related or due to a lack of confidence to cycle in the city. This project will attempt to break these barriers down by providing support and guidance to get cycling. Julian Scriven, Managing Director of nextbike UK, commented: “We are delighted with how well the scheme has been received in Glasgow by people from all walks of life. “By offering reduced price memberships and reducing payment barriers, nextbike is demonstrating its commitment to making cycling more accessible to low income and under-represented groups.” Bikes for All is part financed by the European Social Fund and Scottish Government through the Social Innovation Fund.