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Picture of women smiling wearing hard hat, goggles and high vis vest. Caption reads - "We've seen an increase of 96.49% female undergraduate applications through UCAS for engineering courses from 2011 to 2021"

A look at the transport industry in November

In November leaders from around the world gathered together in Glasgow for the two-week Cop26 meeting to take action on climate change. Most importantly for the transport industry, the event saw representatives of governments, businesses and other organisations with an influence over the future of the automotive industry and road transport, commit to rapidly accelerating the transition to zero emission vehicles to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. It was agreed to work towards sales of all new cars and vans being zero emission globally by 2040, and by no later than 2035 in leading markets.

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
E-Vehicles
E-Scooters
E-Bikes
Air Quality
Aviation
Diversity

Active Travel

  • Glasgow City Council has said traffic volumes dropped considerably during Cop26 as roads were closed off and vehicle access to the city centre was limited. Now the local authority is calling on people living in the city to cut down on car journeys and travel more by public transport, bike, or foot to help drive down fuel emissions further.
  • Bike share operator, Nextbike, has scaled up the number of bikes and stations across Glasgow to improve access to sustainable travel.
  • E-Move, an electric bike pilot scheme that has received more than £775,000 of funding from the Welsh Government to help people swap their cars for an electric bike, is being rolled out in Swansea. The scheme is being run by walking and cycling charity, Sustrans.
  • The Mayor of London’s ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions could create 25,000 bike industry jobs, according to the Bicycle Association. In its latest report, the national trade association for the UK cycle industry found we could see a boost of £5bn to the economy if London authorities hit their carbon targets.

Public Transport

  • In its latest finance committee paper, Transport for London (TfL) has warned that without meaningful sustained investment from government, London’s transport network will enter a period of managed decline.
  • A report from independent think tank, Centre for Cities, found that in UK cities outside of London, fewer people live close to the centre compared to the rest of Europe, making it harder for public transport to accommodate customers. One of the solutions is to pursue a franchise bus network, similar to London.
  • New figures show reports of sexual harassment and sexual offences to British Transport Police have risen by 63% compared with before the pandemic. 
  • Greater Manchester has set out its ambition to become the first city-region with a carbon neutral transport network. Among the plans, the region’s bus fleet will be 50% electric by 2027 and the largest Clean Air Zone outside of London will be introduced in May, covering 1,300 km2.

Elsewhere in public transport this month:

Buses

  • Earlier this month, Northern Ireland Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon unveiled the first of 80 electric double-decker buses due to be in passenger service by Spring 2022, as part of her £74m investment for 100 zero emission buses.
  • Bus provider, Wrightbus, has prevented one million kilograms of harmful carbon dioxide emissions entering the atmosphere since the launch of its hydrogen double-decker buses earlier this year. The reduction in emissions, from 6,000 miles covered, is the equivalent of taking more than 230 cars off the roads for a whole year.

Rail

  • Earlier this month, the government released its Integrated Rail Plan (IRP), which sees a £96bn package of rail construction and upgrades for the Midlands and North of England. The IRP will transform both east to west and north to south links, building three new high-speed lines, improving rail services between East and West Midlands, Yorkshire and the North West.
  • The rail Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Charter, led jointly by Women in Rail and the Railway Industry Association celebrated its first year of bringing organisations together to build a more balanced and higher performing sector this month. Since its launch, the Charter has reached 174 signatories.
  • Analysis of train journey data by Rail Delivery Group shows a 26% increase in train journeys since the end of the summer holidays, with leisure journeys at around 90% of pre-pandemic levels. Overall, since the start of September, leisure journeys now account for 55% of train journeys, compared to 33% pre-pandemic.
  • According to a national survey carried out by Network Rail, two-thirds of the British public recognise the railway as a greener mode of transport, and yet 73% of this group still primarily use cars to get around.
  • Earlier this month, Transport for London announced Night Overground services will be returning in December, in time for London’s festive celebrations. The all-night services, which link key areas in the city, such as Shoreditch, Hoxton and Upper Street in Islington, have been suspended since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

E-Mobility

E-Vehicles

  • Charging infrastructure company, Connected Kerb plans to install 190,000 on-street public chargers in the UK by 2030.
  • The NHS has unveiled the world’s first zero emission ambulance, capable of travelling up to 300 miles before charging. The ambulance is the first to integrate electric vehicle technology with a hydrogen fuel cell, enabling the vehicle to travel much further, making it suitable for use in services and locations that need to make longer journeys, such as rural areas of the country.
  • The latest outlook from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders forecasts some 287,000 plug-in vehicles will be registered in 2021 – more than from 2010-2019 combined. Battery electric vehicles are also forecast to outsell conventional diesel and mild-hybrid diesel cars in 2022.
  • A new study from global IoT connectivity firm, Eseye has found the biggest factor under consideration in the UK when deciding to switch to EVs is the price, with 65% stating this. The second biggest influencing factor was around environmental concerns (62%), while 45% admitted the recent petrol crisis had brought this into ever sharper focus, influencing their decision to buy an EV.
  • New analysis from the Institute of the Motor Industry reveals the gap in skills is widening as EV adoption accelerates. A total of 90,000 automotive technicians will be required to provide sufficient workforce to service the volume of zero-emissions vehicles predicted to be on UK roads by 2030, which is a shortfall of 36,000 technicians. 
  • The government announced earlier this month new homes and buildings in England will be required by law to install electric charging points from next year.
  • National Highways, the government owned company responsible for operating, maintaining and improving motorways and major A roads in England, has announced it plans to invest in Energy Storage Systems for service stations where the grid supply is not enough for rapid charging infrastructure. 
  • The government has confirmed all new heavy goods vehicles in the UK will be zero-emission by 2040. The UK will become the first country in the world to commit to phasing out new, non-zero emission heavy goods vehicles weighing 26 tonnes and under by 2035.

E-Scooters

  • Sunderland’s e-scooter trial has covered a total distance of 100,000 miles within its first six months, eliminating an estimated 10 tonnes of CO2 emissions. 
  • The number of Londoners hiring e-scooters as part of TfL’s trial rental scheme has increased since the expansion of the ULEZ zone. All three operators in the scheme reported a 30% increase in the number of new users in the week following the ULEZ expansion.

E-Bikes

  • According to a new report by Urban Transport Group, over 100m car and taxi trips made in city regions each year could instead be made on e-bikes if the government is able to deliver its target for mode shift to cycling. 
  • A new paper from the Department for Transport has revealed the majority of British people (91%) have yet to try an electric bike, yet most could explain the advantages.

Air Quality

  • Bristol City Council has secured £42m of government funding for a Clean Air Zone, which will launch next summer and enable Bristol to meet clean air targets in 2023.
  • According to a study from Imperial College London, London’s ULEZ reduced the city’s nitrogen dioxide levels by a few percent during the first few weeks of its implementation. 

Aviation

  • British Airways confirmed its first flight to the US since the easing of travel restrictions earlier this month was powered with 35% sustainable aviation fuel. The fuel was provided by BP and is made from used cooking oil. 
  • The RAF and Zero Petroleum have won a Guinness World Record for the world’s first successful flight using only synthetic fuel. An Ikarus C42 microlight aircraft completed a short flight powered by synthetic gasoline at Cotswold Airport earlier this month.
  • More than 300 school children across Sussex have taken part in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) initiatives throughout November, in an initiative by Gatwick Airport in the build up to their STEM week in December. 

Diversity

  • The government announced earlier this month it will support a new five-year review aimed at increasing opportunities for women at the top of Britain’s biggest companies. Ministers have urged the UK’s top FTSE businesses not to lose momentum when it comes to improving gender diversity in their senior leadership.
  • New data from employment lawyers Richard Nelson LLP, found an increase of 96.49% in female undergraduate applications through UCAS for engineering courses from 2011 to 2021. 
  • A statement calling for the role of women and girls to be advanced in addressing climate change was launched at COP26 earlier this month, jointly sponsored by the Scottish Government and UN Women. The Glasgow Women’s Leadership Statement on Gender Equality and Climate Change commits to further strengthening efforts to support women and girls to lead on addressing climate change at community, national and international level.
  • A competition has been launched by Network Rail which will showcase IT careers in the organisation, and across the rail sector, to young people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. The rail network owner hopes it will encourage more young people from minority ethnic backgrounds to consider a career in IT, STEM areas more widely, and in the rail industry.
  • Up to £5m has been awarded to 22 organisations as part of the ‘Safety of Women at Night’ fund. The bids, focused on improving the safety of women and girls at night, include initiatives such as drink spiking detection kits, a transport safety campaign and trained staff to support safe taxi journeys. 

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.

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