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Calendar showing month of June with magnifying glass looking at June.

A look at the transport industry in June

Earlier in June we saw the launch of the Institute for Public Policy Research’s plan for fairly decarbonising how people travel. The report outlines a vision for a transport system that is fair to all, works to improve people’s health and wellbeing and providers a better environment for nature.  

Also in June, Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, opened the new UK Infrastructure Bank, designed to support local growth and tackle climate change. The new infrastructure bank is headquartered in Leeds and will help to finance important projects in every region and nation of the UK in sectors including transport.

The government has launched a national awareness campaign as we gear up for the roll-out of E10 petrol. The fuel, which is petrol blended with up to 10% renewable ethanol, will potentially cut transport CO2 emissions by 750,000 tonnes a year.  

Below we take a look in more detail at what’s been happening in our core policy areas of transport and diversity.

Active Travel
Public Transport
Buses
Rail
E-mobility
Electric Vehicles
E-scooters
E-bikes
Air Quality
Diversity

Active travel

  • The start of June saw the annual celebration of cycling, Bike Week. The event which has been running since 1923 focused on how cycling boosts our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
  • Findings of Wave 5 of the National Travel Attitudes Study were released this month, which centres around attitudes towards cycling.
  • When asked about things that would encourage them to cycle more, respondents chose off-road segregated cycle paths (55%), safer roads (53%) and well maintained road surfaces for cycling (49%) 
  • 64% support the creation of dedicated cycle lanes in their local area.
  • 58% said they felt confident when riding a bicycle. Men (74%) felt more confident than women (43%).
  • Of those who didn’t feel confident, 14% said they would be interested in attending a cycle training course.
  • 51% of respondents agreed that e-bikes are too expensive, with only 4% disagreeing. Nearly 2 in 3 respondents said they knew very little about e-bikes.
  • Eighteen pedestrian crossings in London have been defaulted to show the ‘green man’ signal and a red light for cars, until sensors detect traffic approaching, supporting Transport for London’s goal to make London the ‘world’s most walkable city’.
  • It’s been announced that Santander will extend their sponsorship of Transport for London’s cycle hire scheme until 2025. The scheme will also be expanded to new areas of London and e-bikes will be introduced.
  • Scottish Transport Minister, Graeme Dey has confirmed over £1.2m is being provided to build on the increases Scotland has seen in cycling over the past year. 
    • £900,000 is being allocated from the Active Travel fund to support the Energy Saving Trust’s e-bike Grant Fund in 2021/22.
    • Over £390,000 will support Cycling UK Scotland’s new project for 2021/22, Shift, to enable a range of organisations to transform communities through small grants awards.
  • A report by shared transport charity CoMo UK, shows Scotland’s bike sharing scheme attracted more than 18,000 new users, resulting in a 38% increase in cycling trips recorded across Glasgow and Edinburgh between June and September 2020.
  • Forty areas across England and Wales have been awarded a total of £18.4m from the Government’s Safer Streets Fund to introduce measures such as locked gates around alleyways, increased street lighting and the installation of CCTV.
  • New data from Transport for London and retailer, Halfords, shows record increases in the number of people cycling in London with an increase of more than 200% on some weekends. The data also suggests bike owners are cycling more often and feel safer on the roads.
  • A survey commissioned by Irwin Mitchell has found that people’s transport habits are expected to change as restrictions continue to ease, with cycling set to overtake public transport for commuting.
    • Only 6% of adults cycled to work before the first lockdown, but when asked what mode of transport commuters would use after lockdown, this figure jumped to 13%.
    • 26% said they were likely to continue cycling post-Covid-19.
  • Essex Pedal Power, a new pilot project supported Essex County Council, cycling UK, Tendring Council and Sport England has been launched to make cycling more accessible to everyone. Eligible residents will be able to apply for a free new bike between now and 2023.
  • The Department for Transport has written to local authorities in England to reinforce its guidance from last year that it will not fund cycle lanes that are marked out with paint, and that any applications for funding need to include segregation.
  • According to latest research from Mintel, UK bike volume sales rose an estimated 22% in 2020. The number of bikes sold reached an estimated 3.3m, up from 2.7m in 2019.
  • Transport for Greater Manchester has confirmed it has chosen Beryl to provide and operate Bee Bikes, its new bike hire scheme, which is set to launch in November. The first phase of the scheme will consist of 1,500 bikes and e-bikes and over 200 docking stations.

Public transport

  • Transport for London (TfL) has announced a series of measures it has put in place to continue to improve how it tackles hate crime on its transport network. This includes posters being displayed across the network encouraging customers and staff to stand in solidarity against hate and abusive behaviour.
  • A survey for STV news shows nearly four in ten people in Scotland said Covid-19 and social distancing has left them less likely to use trains and buses.
    • 51% of people surveyed used public transport every month pre-pandemic, but this has now fallen to 29%.
    • Before lockdown 12% never used public transport. This figure is now at 38%.
  • The Mayor of London has announced that TfL has awarded a 20-year concession to BAI Communications in order to provide 4G mobile coverage throughout the London Underground network by 2024.
  • HITRANs, the regional transport partnership in the Scottish Highlands, has launched a public transport app which will make it easier for users to access the information they need to make greater use of public transport, car sharing and to decide when cycling is an option.

Elsewhere in public transport this month:

Buses

  • Earlier in June a new £5m fleet of near-silent electric buses began operating in Leicester. This is the first of a wider £50m project that could see 100 electric buses rolled out to a third of the city’s network by 2024.
  • Autonomous electric shuttle buses from engineering firm, Aurrigo, have started journeying alongside regular traffic on a route in Cambridge at the University’s West Campus. Passengers recruited for the trial project will be able to us an app to schedule pick-up at a number of locations along a 2 mile route.
  • It was announced this month that the UK’s largest electric charging station is to be created at a First Glasgow depot, with space for 300 electric buses. First Glasgow’s electric fleet is due to expand from two buses to 22 from September, and to 148 by March 2023.
  • Work has also started this month on the transformation for zero-emissions electric vehicles at depots owned by McGill’s buses, the UK’s largest independent bus operator, at three locations in Scotland.
  • First York has announced its fleet of all-electric double-decker buses have saved 750 tonnes of carbon emissions since they were introduced in July 2020.
  • Warwickshire County Council has unveiled its fleet of ten new environmentally friendly home-to-school transport buses. The buses will come into service over the coming month and will be used for home-to-school transport, adult transport and a range of other transport services provided by the Council.
  • TfL has this month added 20 new environmentally friendly hydrogen double-decker buses to its fleet. They join more than 500 electric and over 3,800 hybrid buses in TfL’s 9,000 strong fleet.
  • Edinburgh has launched its first fully electric double-decker buses, with four new buses introduced as part of a £1.7m project in partnership with SP Energy Networks.

Rail 

  • June saw the long awaited launch of the national flexible rail tickets, designed to match modern working habits and potentially save hundreds of pounds for commuters who only travel to work 2 or 3 days a week. 
  • A new passenger assistance app built by UK tech company, Transreport, and developed with UK train operators, has been launched this month. It has been designed to help make travel easier for disabled rail passengers, making it easier and quicker to request assistance.
  • The government has announced a £317m investment into the Transpennine Route upgrade, which will boost punctuality, reliability and connectivity for passengers between York, Leeds and Manchester.
  • Also announced was £69m of improvements to increase freight capacity between the Port of Southampton and the Midlands to boost economic growth.
  • Euston Station in London has become the UK’s first railway station to provide the latest passenger information using British Sign Language. Ten passenger information touch screens have gone live around the station, with a further 10 being installed by the end of 2021 and an additional large screen soon being unveiled beside the arrival and departure boards on the main concourse.
  • Govia Thameslink and Southeastern Railways have worked together to launch a new online season ticket calculator, designed to provide passengers with greater transparency when it comes to choosing tickets and fares. The calculator will also include the new national Flexi Season ticket.
  • According to official statistics launched by the Office of Rail and Road this month, rail passenger journeys fell to the lowest levels of annual passenger usage since before 1872. Nationally, 388 million train journeys were made in 202-21, just 22% of those made in 2019-20.
  • In stark comparison, rail freight transportation levels in Network Rail’s busiest business regions are now higher than before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Figures for the Eastern region show 4,839 freight train movements in the latest reporting period, compared to 4,760 in the corresponding period last year.
  • A transport proposal has been unveiled to improve East/West travel and link western parts of Hertfordshire with other areas in the county and Essex. The Hertfordshire-Essex Rapid Transit system (HERT) is being planned to meet sustainable growth needs while better connecting people and supporting the local economy.

E-mobility

Electric Vehicles 

  • According to figures from the Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles, there has been a record increase in demand for electric car home charging grants in 2020, with over 42,000 grants made, worth nearly £17m. 
  • Cheshire West and Chester Council has increased the number of charging facilities across the borough, with the introduction of 29 new electric vehicle charge points.
  • Plans to install 20 new electric vehicle charging points in a Dundee car park have been approved by the City Council. The charging points will be powered by a set of solar panels to be installed on the roof of the multi-storey car park.
  • A contract worth £200,000 has been advertised by the Department for Transport (DfT) to secure a design team who will be responsible for redesigning electric vehicle charge points in an attempt to make them an ‘iconic’ site on the UK’s streets in the same way as red pillar boxes.
  • New research from Nissan has revealed electric cars are travelling further than petrol and diesel models each year. The research found electric models completed an average of 14,200km every year, compared to 13,600km a year from owners of traditional combustion engines.
  • According to a new study from energy experts, Centrica Business Solutions, 34% of UK businesses are set to install electric vehicle charging points at employees’ homes as they electrify their fleets.
  • According to new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, plug-in vehicles comprise 13.8% of new car registrations during the month of May, up from 7.2% a year earlier. The most rapid growth has been seen in plug-in hybrid derivatives.
  • BP Pulse has opened the UK’s first rapid charging hub for fleet vehicles on Park Lane in central London. The hub can provide rapid charging for 10 vehicles simultaneously, with plans to more than double its capacity in the coming months.
  • Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, has announced the winners of the government’s £20m research and development competition. 62 promising electric vehicle technology innovations have been awarded a share of the funding, including a kinetic battery to provide a temporary power boost for charging EVs and a zero emissions ambulance.

E-Scooters

  • Britain’s first e-scooter training programme has been launched in Bournemouth. The scheme, operated by scooter hire provider, Beryl, helps promote road safety and practical skills.
  • Data released by Spin, the micro-mobility unit of Ford Motor Company, shows riders across Essex have changed their travel behaviour since the introduction of the shared e-scooter hire scheme. Riders see the scheme as a good alternative to public transport during the pandemic, and also as a more environmentally friendly choice when walking isn’t an option. 82% of users have opted for a ride with an e-scooter instead of driving alone at least once since the scheme has launched.
  • Canterbury’s e-scooter scheme, which previously covered just the city centre, has now been expanded to include areas outside of the city, including Thanington, Hales Place, Wincheap and Harbledown, along with a stretch of the A28 in the direction of Sturry.
  • London has this month launched its e-scooter trial. E-scooters are now available to rent in four boroughs – Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Richmond Upon Thames. Scooters can also be hired in Canary Wharf and ridden through the borough of Tower Hamlets. The City of London is due to join the scheme in July.

E-bikes

  • Birmingham City Council has announced it will roll out electric bicycles later this year, in partnership with local organisations. The Council applied for funding through the DfT’s E-Cycle Extension Fund in December 2020 and is now set to receive £199,000.
  • TfL announced this month that 500 e-bikes will be available to hire from 2022 in addition to the 14,000 regular cycles under its Santander Cycle Hire Scheme.
  • A new report from market research company, Mintel, suggests electric bike sales rose to represent nearly a quarter of cycle sales value in 2020.

Air Quality

  • Clean Air Day 2021 was held on 17thJune 2021, with a focus on ‘protecting our children’s health from air pollution’. The charity that co-ordinates the campaign, Global Action Plan, released new data showing 27% of all UK schools are located in areas which are above World Health Organisation air pollution limits for the pollutant PM2.5, which is formed of tiny particles that can cross the lungs into the blood.
  • Also on Clean Air Day, the Mayor of London announced an increase in air quality monitoring in London, with an additional 131 air quality sensors set to be installed at hospitals, schools and other priority locations.
  • New technology, ClearPath from the Met Office and Swedish software company AVTECH, is helping airlines fly more efficiently. At pre-Covid-19 levels, the technology has the potential to save 1.24m tonnes of CO2each year.
  • Birmingham has become the first UK city to launch a Clean Air Zone for private cars outside of London. From 1stJune, drivers of older polluting cars, taxis and vans face a daily charge of £8 to travel in the centre of Birmingham. 
  • Greater Manchester has announced a proposed launch date of 30thMay 2022 for its new Clean Air Zone. The city has secured over £120m in government funding to support local businesses to upgrade to cleaner, compliant vehicles in preparation.

Diversity 

  • This month saw the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council present its recommendations on how to ensure women across the globe are at the forefront of the Covid-19 pandemic recovery and the heart of the build back better agenda. Recommendations focused on education, economic empowerment and ending violence against women and girls. 
  • A new paper issued by not-for-profit organisation, Women’s Budget Group, looks at four key structural factors that create gender disparities in transport systems and must be addressed to decarbonise transport in a just and inclusive way – access to economic resources and free time, car-centric policy and planning, safety and accessibility, and the technocratic paradigm in transport.

We hope you found this roundup interesting and informative. Please contact us if you would like further information, or to find out more about the public affairs and diversity services we offer. Or sign up to our blog for up to date news, opinions and advice.