The UK is in the early stages of a transport revolution. For much of the past half century, many of the improvements to transport have been gradual and incremental, focused on increasing the capacity of existing infrastructure to meet growing demand. Yet today important new technologies are emerging that will transform transport and travel. Zero tailpipe emission cars are replacing those powered by fossil fuels. Self-driving vehicles have the potential to allow people with mobility issues to enjoy far greater freedom to travel, and advances in data production and use are already improving the way that transport services are devised, planned and delivered.
If they are properly managed, the transport technologies of the future will not just make journeys faster; they will also make them safer, easier, more comfortable and more affordable. They will make our towns and cities quieter and less polluted, and they will give us the option to see mobility as a service, integrated and accessible to all.
But this transformation potentially offers huge industrial opportunities as well, including new high quality jobs, new investment and increased national productivity.
The Government have put the future of mobility at the heart of their industrial strategy in an effort to take full advantage of these extraordinary opportunities. With a long history of transport innovation, a world-class research base and many established technology leaders, the UK is well placed to harness its domestic expertise and to profit from a growing market for cleaner, safer and more efficient transport.
Such fundamental change in transport within a relatively short period of time, and across so many different technologies, is unprecedented. The sector is at a point of inflection. The window of opportunity is currently open; but for how much longer it will be so, no one can say.
Today the Government are publishing their “Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy”. This sets out their approach to working with innovators, companies, local authorities and other stakeholders in order to harness the developing benefits of new urban mobility technologies.
In the “Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy”, the Government have:
Outlined the benefits they want mobility innovation to deliver, and the principles by which to achieve them;
Launched an ambitious regulatory review;
Established a wide programme of work to meet the grand challenge.
Alongside this document they have:
Launched a £90 million competition for cities to deliver future of mobility zones, which follows £60 million awarded to 10 cities across the UK via the transforming cities fund;
Published a response to the last mile call for evidence they conducted in summer;
Outlined next steps on the e-cargo bike grant.
As a country, our approach to these technologies will need to adapt over the coming decades. The Government will need to gather and respond to evidence of the impacts of new mobility technologies and services as they emerge. They will also need to set out their thinking on the future of rural mobility in due course, to explore how the benefits of transport innovation can be enjoyed by everyone, wherever they live.
We have an extraordinary opportunity here—to put this country at the heart of the next mobility revolution, and deliver a cleaner, greener, more productive and more inclusive country for future generations.
I have laid a copy of “Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy” in the Libraries of both Houses.
The attachment can be viewed online at: http://www. parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2019-03-19/HCWS1424/.