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View from behind of a boy with backpack walking to school, with the caption 'o	New data released for Walk to School Week found traffic is one of the biggest barriers to children walking to school, with 15% of parents naming it as a reason their child doesn't walk'.

A look at the transport industry in May

This month saw the opening of Parliament with the Queen’s speech – delivered this year by Prince Charles – which set out the Government’s priorities in legislation and policy over the coming year. The news of a new Transport Bill is promising for the industry, but asides from a clear step towards the formal establishment of Great British Railways – a new public-sector body to oversee British rail operations, touted in last year’s Williams-Shapps Plan – the surrounding legislation is hazy. While commitments have been made to, for instance, accelerate the transition to all types of electric vehicles, and regulate autonomous vehicles, and e-scooters, the details remain unclear. Engagement with customers and all corners of the transport sector in the coming months will be essential in ensuring the Government gets the Bill right.

Meanwhile, cycling and walking campaigners and organisations are eying the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech to ensure active travel gets its fair share of attention, in the month that the DfT announced £200m of funding for new walking and cycling schemes.

The long-awaited Elizabeth line was finally launched on 24 May to a warm welcome in and around London. The excitement felt around its launch is an excellent reminder of the benefits that new transport infrastructure brings from construction to operations and beyond, in terms of  job creation, economic growth, social benefits to communities and connections to homes, jobs and leisure activities.

Below we take a look in more detail at what’s been happening in our core policy areas of transport and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Follow us on twitter and LinkedIn or sign up to our mailing list to keep up to date with our analysis of key industry topics. If you need help with any of these policy areas, or anything else, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Active travel
Public transport
Buses
Rail
E-Mobility
E-Vehicles
E-Scooters
Roads
Air Quality
Aviation
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

 

Active travel

  • May was National Walking Month, organised by walking charity, Living Streets, to encourage us all to walk for 20 minutes each day to help improve physical and mental health.
    • A survey commissioned by Living Streets for National Walking Month, shows 22% of the UK population never walk for exercise or leisure at all.
    • The survey shows Glasgow is the top city in the UK for walking, with 86% of people saying they sometimes walk purely for leisure or exercise.
    • While Nottingham is the city with the lowest proportion of people (68%) who exercise by walking.
    • The new data shows two thirds of the UK population claim to walk at least 20 minutes each day for exercise or leisure.
  • Walk to School Week also took place in May. Organised by Living Streets, it’s an annual week-long celebration encouraging students to travel sustainably to school. This year around 750 schools and 200,000 students walked to school for a whole week.
    • New polling data released for Walk to School Week found that traffic is one of the biggest barriers to children walking to school, with 15% of parents naming it as a reason their child doesn't walk.
    • Schools being too far away from home (17.7%), having to go elsewhere afterwards (12%), pavement parking (11.4%), and lack of safe walking routes (10.7%) were also barriers for UK parents.
  • A YouGov polling, commissioned by Clean Cities Campaign, shows parents of children 18 and under, are three times as likely to find the school run as stressful as meeting their line manager at work (22% vs 7%).
    • When asked about the school run, nearly six in ten (59%) of all parents/guardians say walking or cycling is the best way to spend quality time with their children, while only one in ten (11%) said driving was.
  • Chelmsford has been named as the safest place for cycling in the whole of the UK according to new data. Experts at personal injury advisors, Claims.co.uk, analysed various factors relating to cycling routes and accident data, to reveal Chelmsford earned an overall danger score of only 1.79 out of 10. 
  • New research by solicitors, Bott & Co, has revealed almost half of UK women would like to take up cycling, however concerns about dangers on the road, personal safety and a lack of cycling infrastructure remain significant barriers.
    • The research shows 90% of women don’t own a bike, and of those that do, only 16% cycle every day and 18% once or more a week.
    • A further 49% would like to own a bike but are discouraged by worries over road safety and the risk of being injured, lack of cycle lanes and not wanting to ride alone.
  • The Department for Transport has announced £200m of government funding for new walking and cycling schemes. The Government’s new executive agency, Active Travel England, led by Olympic gold medallist, Chris Boardman, will oversee the delivery of 134 schemes.
  • Deputy Climate Change Minister for Wales, Lee Waters, has announced a £50m investment to fund new cycling facilities across Wales, to encourage cycle use and help Wales meet Net Zero.
  • According to the new ‘Walking and Cycling Index’, a survey of 23,000 UK residents by sustainable transport charity, Sustrans, 70% of people would walk or use their wheelchairs and mobility scooters more frequently if fewer vehicles were on the pavement. The poll found only 56% of disabled respondents feel ‘welcome’ when walking or wheeling in their local area, which is less than non-disabled people (69%). Vehicles obstructing their way is one of the biggest factors.

Public transport

  • The Elizabeth Line officially opened to the public on 24th The new railway will be crucial to London’s recovery from the pandemic, helping avoid a car-led recovery by providing new journey options, supporting regeneration across the capital, and adding an estimated £42bn to the UK economy. 
  • Transport for London has returned Night Tube services on the Jubilee line. This comes after all Night Tube services were suspended in March 2020 due to the pandemic. Services on the Jubilee line will now run throughout the night on Fridays and Saturdays, joining the Central and Victoria lines, which resumed Night Tube services in November 2021. The Northern and Piccadilly lines are due to return later this summer.

Elsewhere in public transport this month:

Buses

  • The UK’s first full-sized autonomous bus will take to the roads in Scotland for the first time later this summer. Bus operator, Stagecoach, in partnership with Fusion Processing, Alexander Dennis and Transport Scotland, has been carrying out on-road testing of the autonomous bus in preparation for the launch of the pilot service.
  • Mental health champions at each of Go-Ahead’s ten UK regional bus companies have been trained to spot triggers, reassure people in distress, and advise colleagues on how to access support. The initiative is intended to break any remaining stigma surrounding mental health. Approximately 80 colleagues across the Group have now undergone this training since its launch.
  • A new £40m competition to kick-start commercial self-driving services, such as passenger shuttles and delivery vehicles, has been launched. The government competition will fund projects to help bring to market the latest developments in autonomous commercial vehicles.

Rail

  • The creation of a new public sector body to oversee Britain’s railways was announced in the Queen’s speech earlier this month. Great British Railways will simplify the rail network and improve services for passengers. It will absorb the state-owned infrastructure management company, Network Rail, and take on many functions from the Department for Transport.
  • The Great British Rail Sale has ended, with more than 1.3m tickets sold – more than the entire population of Britain’s second largest city, Birmingham. Through its first of a kind sale, this spring will see over 128m miles of discounted journeys travelled on the UK railways.
  • Network Rail’s ‘Brighter Journey’s campaign has been rolled-out across railway stations this month as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. The joint campaign between the rail industry and mental health charity, Chasing the Stigma, aims to support passengers’ wellbeing as people return to the railway since the lifting of Covid restrictions. The campaign has brought bursts of colourful flowers to the outside of stations to greet passengers as they start their journeys.
  • Train operator, Great Western Railway and the Department for Transport has commissioned The Samaritans to lead a new research study on mental health and wellbeing support for the rail industry, in partnership with Mental Health at Work. The study will provide good practice recommendations for mental health provision, so the industry can raise awareness for their staff and support those experiencing mental illness. It will aim to highlight existing barriers, as well as encourage a culture shift to destigmatise conversations around mental health. 
  • HS2 has announced its first completely diesel-free site. The Canterbury Road Vent Shaft site in South Kilburn is run by the Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture using a range of diesel-free technologies and greener equipment, including one of the UK’s first 160-tonne emissions free fully electric crawler cranes, and the use of bio-fuels to power plant and machinery on site.
  • Veterans and service leavers are being supported into jobs on HS2, thanks to a partnership between HS2’s construction partners and community interest company, BuildForce. In recent months, 40 veterans and service leavers registered with BuildForce have secured jobs and form part of the 22,000 strong workforce shaping HS2’s design and construction. A further 50 have since been job matched and introduced to HS2’s construction partners, ready to begin their career journey.
  • HS2’s latest reporting figures show it has smashed the 900 apprentice starts milestone. It’s just 20 months since construction works began on the first phase of the project, putting HS2 well in control of its target to create 2,000 apprenticeships.
  • Nigel Stevens has been announced as the new Chair of Transport Focus. He will be responsible for overseeing and inspiring the change needed to ensure Transport Focus works effectively with Great British Railways as the passenger champion over the coming years.

E-Mobility

E-Vehicles

  • Electric vehicle charging infrastructure firm, Connected Kerb, has revealed its new and ultra-compact ‘Chameleon’ charger. The new public charging unit stands just under one metre tall and takes the form of narrow bollard. Most of the key components of the charging unit are located underground, to reduce the space it takes up on a pavement. The low height of the charger means it’s not subject to planning permission, and Connected Kerb claims it’s also accessible for wheelchair users.
  • A new study by electric car website, Electrifying.com, shows motorists will pay £1,000 per year more to charge their vehicle if they don’t have a garage or driveway. The third of Britons who don’t have off-street parking and are reliant on using the public charging network, can expect their bills to be almost £80 a month more expensive. This is due to the cost of accessing public devices being much higher than charging at home.
  • According to a new study from electricity cable owner, UK Power Networks, and the charity, Motability, more than two thirds of disabled drivers plan to make the switch to an electric vehicle in the next decade. However, 71% of the 1,000 disabled customers who took part in the survey, identified the lack of accessible charging infrastructure as the main reason they couldn’t get an EV.
  • The latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) sales have continued to rise year-on-year, despite overall declines in the new car market. During April 2022, 12,899 BEV’s were sold, an increase of 40.9% on the same month last year. New car sales overall, however, fell 15.8%.
  • New research from Volkswagen Financial Services UK reveals that 41% of the population believe greater accessibility to EVs is the best way to make transport greener in the UK. The study found having access to an electric car is seen as more preferable than incentivising walking or cycling (27%), incentivising use of shared vehicles (17%) or accessibility to e-scooters and shared bikes (13%).
  • Concerns over range anxiety is becoming a thing of the past, according to new figures from AA. Just 4% of breakdowns attended by AA are now for EVs with zero charge. In 2020, around 8% of its annual callouts were for EVs running flat.

E-Scooters

  • Not for profit, Women in Transport, and E-scooter operator, Voi Technology, have partnered to release a study on shared e-scooter use and gender equity. 
    • The research found over three-quarters of women feel unsafe using e-scooters due to the lack of appropriate riding infrastructure.
    • 83% of respondents stated docking stations can be a barrier to riding if not located in safe and useful areas.
    • 59% of non-riders said understanding laws and regulations surrounding e-scooters was a barrier to riding shared e-scooters.
    • The report calls on local authorities and e-scooter operators to collaborate to ensure women’s transport needs and experiences inform the development of e-scooter regulation and services in specific areas, particularly the location of parking docks and development of infrastructure.
  • The government has announced plans to expand legal use of e-scooters as part of the Transport Bill, introduced in the Queen’s speech earlier this month. A new low-speed, zero-emission category of vehicles is due to be introduced, allowing for the full legislation of private e-scooters on UK roads. 
  • E-scooter operator, Voi, has partnered with Lazarillo, an app to allow blind and visually-impaired people to get ‘real-time information’ on e-scooter parking locations. The move comes following criticism from the National Federation of the Blind of the UK and other organisations, which say badly parked e-scooters pose a danger to pedestrians. App users will also be able to report any poorly parked scooters.
  • Transport for London and London Councils have extended the capital’s trial of rental e-scooters until November this year, to further explore how e-scooters could play a role in a sustainable transport network. London’s trial currently includes ten boroughs, more than 500 designated parking locations and 4,100 e-scooter vehicles.

Roads

  • According to new research, commissioned by multi-mobility app, FREE NOW, Brits will spend the equivalent of one year of their adult life stuck in traffic. A poll of 2,000 adults revealed users end up stuck in congestion during a fifth of their journeys, for an average of nearly three hours a week.
    • As a result, 56% now avoid driving altogether, while others take extra measures to avoid congestion, such as leaving earlier or avoiding peak times. 
    • 35% say they have turned to alternative means of transport, such as e-scooters and e-bikes to travel around towns and cities.
  • New research from Kwik Fit has revealed the cost-of-living crisis has prompted many drivers to reappraise their driving styles. 
    • In 2022, over one third of drivers have cut down on car journeys they describe as non-essential. 
    • Those driving petrol or diesel cars are twice as likely to have cut down on these journeys, compared to drivers of electric vehicles or hybrids (40% vs 22% respectively).
    • 21% of drivers say they have consciously tried to drive more smoothly or less aggressively. 
    • 17% of drivers of EVs or hybrids have switched from a diesel or petrol car this year, as a direct result of the cost of living crisis.
  • A new Artificial Intelligence traffic light system could make long queues at traffic lights a thing of the past. The new system has been developed by researchers at Aston University, and reads live camera footage, adapting the lights to compensate.
  • Over £200m of government funding is to be invested in the launch of the world’s largest fleet of zero emissions heavy goods vehicles. The 3 year comparative programme will begin later this year to help decarbonise the UK’s freight industry, with initial competitions for battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell technology launching shortly.

Air Quality

  • A new Clean Air Zone (CAZ), due to come into force in Newcastle in July, has been put on hold to give those affected more time to prepare.The CAZ will see many older, high-polluting vehicles hit with daily tolls to enter Newcastle city centre, though all private cars have been made exempt. Lorries, buses and coaches that do not comply with emissions standards will have to pay £50 a day to drive into the city centre, and non-compliant vans and taxis will be charged £12.50 a day.
  • An update to The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health has revealed there were nine million deaths attributable to pollution in 2019 – equivalent to one in six deaths worldwide. Air pollution accounts for nearly 7% of the deaths.

Aviation

  • The world’s first urban airport that will allow ‘flying taxis’ to take off and land in the busy areas of cities has opened in the UK. Air-One has been set up in Coventry to demonstrate how urban air mobility can reduce air pollution and congestion on the roads. Powered by hydrogen fuel cells, Air One is designed to be fully autonomous and integrates with electric vehicles to deliver a zero-emission urban public transport system.
  • UK airlines have missed all climate targets set since 2000, except for one, according to a new report from climate change charity, Possible. In 2018 air travel was responsible for 7% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. Targets on energy efficiency to save fuel, and on increasing sustainable fuels, have fallen foul of shifting goalposts or a “lack of reporting and accountability”, resulting in them being missed, downgraded or abandoned altogether, the research concludes.
  • The Secretary of State for Transport has pledged to deliver the world’s first transatlantic flight fuelled purely by environmentally friendly aviation fuel by the end of 2023. The pioneering test flight will be supported by up to £1m of competition funding and will increase understanding of commercial flights using 100% sustainable aviation fuel.
  • London City Airport has unveiled plans to become the capital’s first net zero airport by 2030. Aims include phasing out gas for heating its buildings, ensuring all airport vehicles are switched to electric ones, becoming a zero-waste venue, and banning all single-use plastics.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

  • Sexual assaults reported by women on Scotland’s railways have hit a decade high, prompting calls for urgent action. Officers received 46 reports of women being sexually assaulted while travelling on trains last year, which is the highest total since 2012. The British Transport Police figures also show 301 women reported being threatened, harassed or commonly assaulted last year, second only to 2019 when there were 325.
  • The seven-person Board of Scottish Government-owned Prestwick Airport is now all-male. This follows the replacement of former British Airways executive, Valerie Scoular by Jamie Ross, of aviation services group, Menzies. The airport is exempt from the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018, which aims to ensure at least 50% of non-executive roles are filled by women, because it’s not classed as a public authority.

We hope you found this roundup interesting and informative. 

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