Smart Futures

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The Good Life: The role of transport in shaping a new and sustainable era for suburbs

July, 2022

We are a nation of suburbanites. However, the ubiquity of suburban living is often not reflected in transport policy. And there can be no decarbonisation of transport without specific measures to decarbonise transport in the suburbs.

This report presents four foundations of suburbs for a new era – one which offers all suburbanites the promise of the ‘Good Life’ whilst addressing the climate crisis. These foundations should help people to access more of what they need locally; provide family-friendly sustainable transport choices: prioritise gentle densification around sustainable transport infrastructure; and provide reliable, convenient connections to the nearest town or city and key employment sites.

Allowing non-physical guided transport modes to be authorised by a Transport and Works Act order

May, 2022
Our response to a DfT consultation seeking changes in planning legislation to allow for the use of non-physical guidance systems in orders made under the Transport and Works Act. Non-physical guided transport modes could include simple sensor systems to detect road markings and direct a vehicle or more complex guidance systems such as those that read the surrounding environment to direct a vehicle.
Consulting body: 
Department for Transport

Equitable Future Mobility: Ensuring a just transition to net zero transport

March, 2022

This report, jointly prepared by Arup and Urban Transport Group, is intended as a starter for collaborative discussions between authorities, operators and users about the human dimension of the decarbonisation agenda, aiming to make our future transport system available, accessible, affordable and acceptable for all (also know as the Four A's). 

The report presents a checklist for assessing the role of future mobility in creating a more equitable travel experience and informing discussions about future policy, infrastructure and services.

It says that embracing new technologies will play a key role in decarbonising transport and help towns and cities to achieve net zero emissions – but that steps must also be taken to ensure that the way new technologies are applied does not marginalise some groups or reinforce existing inequalities.

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The future of e-scooters

March, 2022

This report sets out first principles to consider in any regulatory reforms around micromobility, before moving on to detailed recommendations on, first, powers to control the micromobility rental market and, second, on construction and use standards specifically for e-scooters, given concerns around the private e-scooter market.

Delivering a greener future - Urban freight and the decarbonisation of the city regions

January, 2022

Our city regions rely on the smooth movement of goods to keep supermarket shelves stocked, hospitals supplied with medicine and other equipment, to deliver construction materials and support thriving economies.

However, the current dominance of road freight, produces many negative impacts for our cities.

This report sets out the role for freight in decarbonising city regions and the need for freight to play its part in creating urban areas that are greener, fairer, happier, healthier and more prosperous places.

Fully charged: Powering up the potential of e-bikes in the city regions

November, 2021

This report, produced by consultants Steer for the Urban Transport Group, aims to quantify and understand the potential to increase e-bike uptake in the UK, particularly in the city regions, and the benefits that could be realised as a result. It breaks new ground by presenting different scenarios on the potential for e-bikes to achieve mode shift from cars and taxis, and to deliver environmental and economic benefits. 

The report also aims to support urban transport authorities to consider practical approaches to increasing e-bike uptake.

Building back better on urban transport

June, 2021

As the network of transport authorities serving the largest city regions in England, we worked together to keep the wheels of public transport turning during the lockdown so that key workers could get to where they needed to be.

In this paper we set out how, with the right policy framework from Government, we can meet the challenge of ramping up public transport and prioritising cycling and walking to support a green and just recovery.

(Updated version June 2021)

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The Good Life: The role of transport in shaping a new and sustainable era for suburbs

July, 2022

We are a nation of suburbanites. However, the ubiquity of suburban living is often not reflected in transport policy. And there can be no decarbonisation of transport without specific measures to decarbonise transport in the suburbs.

This report presents four foundations of suburbs for a new era – one which offers all suburbanites the promise of the ‘Good Life’ whilst addressing the climate crisis. These foundations should help people to access more of what they need locally; provide family-friendly sustainable transport choices: prioritise gentle densification around sustainable transport infrastructure; and provide reliable, convenient connections to the nearest town or city and key employment sites.

Equitable Future Mobility: Ensuring a just transition to net zero transport

March, 2022

This report, jointly prepared by Arup and Urban Transport Group, is intended as a starter for collaborative discussions between authorities, operators and users about the human dimension of the decarbonisation agenda, aiming to make our future transport system available, accessible, affordable and acceptable for all (also know as the Four A's). 

The report presents a checklist for assessing the role of future mobility in creating a more equitable travel experience and informing discussions about future policy, infrastructure and services.

It says that embracing new technologies will play a key role in decarbonising transport and help towns and cities to achieve net zero emissions – but that steps must also be taken to ensure that the way new technologies are applied does not marginalise some groups or reinforce existing inequalities.

Topic: 

The future of e-scooters

March, 2022

This report sets out first principles to consider in any regulatory reforms around micromobility, before moving on to detailed recommendations on, first, powers to control the micromobility rental market and, second, on construction and use standards specifically for e-scooters, given concerns around the private e-scooter market.

Delivering a greener future - Urban freight and the decarbonisation of the city regions

January, 2022

Our city regions rely on the smooth movement of goods to keep supermarket shelves stocked, hospitals supplied with medicine and other equipment, to deliver construction materials and support thriving economies.

However, the current dominance of road freight, produces many negative impacts for our cities.

This report sets out the role for freight in decarbonising city regions and the need for freight to play its part in creating urban areas that are greener, fairer, happier, healthier and more prosperous places.

Fully charged: Powering up the potential of e-bikes in the city regions

November, 2021

This report, produced by consultants Steer for the Urban Transport Group, aims to quantify and understand the potential to increase e-bike uptake in the UK, particularly in the city regions, and the benefits that could be realised as a result. It breaks new ground by presenting different scenarios on the potential for e-bikes to achieve mode shift from cars and taxis, and to deliver environmental and economic benefits. 

The report also aims to support urban transport authorities to consider practical approaches to increasing e-bike uptake.

Building back better on urban transport

June, 2021

As the network of transport authorities serving the largest city regions in England, we worked together to keep the wheels of public transport turning during the lockdown so that key workers could get to where they needed to be.

In this paper we set out how, with the right policy framework from Government, we can meet the challenge of ramping up public transport and prioritising cycling and walking to support a green and just recovery.

(Updated version June 2021)

Towards an appropriate legal and regulatory framework for smart futures on transport

September, 2020

Commissioned from consultants Steer, this report seeks to provide an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses the current UK legal and regulatory framework for smart transport futures in relation to the key challenges that UK transport authorities face. It also explores the potential for anticipatory regulation, principles that could underpin any changes to the framework and recommendations for priority areas in need of reform.

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Automatic for the people? Issues and options for transport authorities on connected and autonomous vehicles

March, 2020

This report aims to provide an objective framework for city regions to think about connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) and the approaches they might take to them.

It looks at CAVs from the perspective of city region transport authorities in the context of their wider objectives and responsibilities; it recognises that vehicles are becoming increasingly connected and autonomous; and that the range of connected and autonomous vehicles goes beyond just cars to include buses and public service vehicles. It also analyses the safety, economic, social and environmental considerations of CAVs.

The report presents options for how transport authorities may respond to CAVs, and recommends the actions national Government should take to enable them to do so.

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What next for urban transport?

September, 2019

This report - published to coincide with the 2019 Autumn Party Conferences - identifies four urban transport challenges and four solutions needed to overcome them.

It also details what transport authorities need from Government to bring about these changes. 

On launching the report, Stephen Edwards, Chair of the Urban Transport Group and Executive Director of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, said: "There is much more that needs to be done if transport is to contribute effectively to meeting the many challenges that city regions face, from the climate crisis to public health challenges associated with a lack of physical activity. The right policies can help overcome these challenges."

MaaS movement? Issues and options on Mobility as a Service for city region transport authorities

September, 2019

This report examines the concept of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) - schemes which provide access to information on, and payment for, transport options via a single digital platform. 

It identifies the three key factors that will determine the future of MaaS and also sets out the issues and options for city regions on the role they might play in shaping MaaS in their areas.

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Allowing non-physical guided transport modes to be authorised by a Transport and Works Act order

May, 2022
Our response to a DfT consultation seeking changes in planning legislation to allow for the use of non-physical guidance systems in orders made under the Transport and Works Act. Non-physical guided transport modes could include simple sensor systems to detect road markings and direct a vehicle or more complex guidance systems such as those that read the surrounding environment to direct a vehicle.
Consulting body: 
Department for Transport

Submission to the Comprehensive Spending Review 2020

September, 2020
This is our submission to HM Treasury's Comprehensive Spending Review 2020. In our submission, we call upon the Government to move on from its current 'patch and mend’ approach to closing the COVID-19 funding gap for public transport towards longer-term, secure arrangements. We argue that this should form the basis for wider reforms of the funding and powers of city region transport authorities. In practice, this would mean providing long-term funding packages for local transport similar to those already in place for national rail and roads, as well as upgrading the powers of city region transport authorities so they are more in line with those in London. This would ensure that transport authorities are fully empowered and funded to meet the challenge of a green and just recovery from COVID-19.
Consulting body: 
HM Treasury

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