UK trialling e-scooters on public roads

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The UK Government is to trial e-scooters on public roads and medical drones as it considers shaking up the nation’s transport laws.

To coincide with £90 million to test the innovative technologies, a consultation has also been launched in an effort to hear from the public about the impact of micro-mobility and Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) on UK transportation.

A quartet of so-called future transport zones, Portsmouth & Southampton, the West of England Combined Authority, Derby & Nottingham and the West Midlands will receive a share of the funding to provide real-world testing of e-scooters to assess the issues they may raise.

The Government expects the review to consider the requirements to ensure they are safe for use on roads, such as minimum age for riders, vehicle standards and insurance matters. Recently, Spin announced it was looking at the possibilities of bringing e-scooters to UK roads legally.

One of the projects will see drones carrying medical supplies from clinics on the Isle of Wight to hospitals on the mainland, speeding up diagnoses by removing the need for time spent transporting via roads and ferries.

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said, “We are on the cusp of a transport revolution. Emerging technologies are ripping up the rulebook and changing the way people and goods move forever.

“Our ground-breaking future of transport programme marks the biggest review of transport laws in a generation and will pave the way for exciting new transport technology to be tested, cementing the UK’s position as a world-leading innovator.”

As well as the public and industry’s views on e-scooters and drones, the consultation will also ask for opinions on the role Government could or should play in developing MaaS in the UK. The initial measures being considered include how bus journeys could be booked via an individual’s smartphone, similar to how private hire taxi services are.

Members of the public are encouraged to take part in the survey via the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy website, email futureoftransport@dft.gov.ukor by post at Future of Transport Regulatory Review, Department for Transport, Zone 1/33 Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 4DR.

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James joined the Traffic Technology International team in 2017. Previously he was Assistant Editor on an engineering title for several years and has worked for various other trade magazines before that. James is happily married and has a young daughter and son who keep him busy.