From the UK Government’s ambitious Road to Zero strategy, banning the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040, to the challenge of creating the appropriate policy and regulatory environment for connected and autonomous vehicles and attracting investment in Mobility-as-a-Service business models, the future of mobility is set to have an enormous impact on Government and Public sector.
Click on each of the sections below to understand how emerging mobility trends could impact the Government and public sector in the near, medium and long-term future.
Rethinking transport policy through the lens of future mobility: The government has already drafted a set of principles to shape the future of urban mobility and set up the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge for 2019 in its ‘Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy’. This includes implementing a flexible regulatory framework, supporting industry and local leaders, ensuring robust decision making and investing in technology-specific programmes. The government will have to continue validating and building on these objectives, as well as incorporate a rural future mobility strategy, particularly in the context of devolution objectives.
Local and global environmental regulation and emissions control: OEMs face pressure on their existing business models from governments, local councils and international bodies, related to stricter emission regulation, additional taxation (e.g. on older generation diesel) and economic uncertainty which may result in OEMs being unable to invest or defend against new players and under pressure to merge/partner or fail.
Increase in the number of Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZs): With the London ULEZ coming into effect in April 2019, global cities are taking note. ULEZs, which charge vehicles to enter on the basis of their emissions category, could be a strong financial incentive for urban mobility service organisations and delivery companies to adopt low emissions vehicles.
Requirement to supply public Electric Vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure and coverage: The UK Government's Road to Zero policy to electrify car and van sales by 2040, requires public charging infrastructure to support the growth of EV cars and to build public confidence in the technology. This will need to be addressed.
The UK Government is already facilitating this through a set of EV infrastructure subsidies for individuals, workplaces and local authorities, as well as the £400 million Chargepoint Infrastructure Investment fund that is being formed to accelerate private investment in the sector. However, investment is needed in the entire EV infrastructure lifecycle – from generation to storage to charging.
Policy and financial incentives to accelerate the uptake of EVs: Current UK incentives for the adoption of electric vehicles include a range of financial subsidies, which have recently been rebalanced to focus on battery electric vehicles rather than hybrids, as well as industry initiatives to promote knowledge and awareness of electric vehicles (such as GoUltraLow).
However, a greater range of affordable EV models and consumer exposure to EVs will also drive growth in adoption, which the government can help catalyse by, for instance, launching a public awareness campaign.
Regulatory sandboxing for mobility: To enable the benefits of progress to be realised, regulation must keep pace with technology. The government can set up sandboxes to encourage innovation and concurrently develop an appropriate regulatory environment, for example for micro-mobility, such as e-scooters or package delivery via drones. Zenzic’s Testbed UK is already spearheading this through its six testbeds – the challenge will be to develop a sustainable business proposition.
Smart and integrated ticketing: To encourage the use of public transport, particularly bus riding, the central government as well as local and regional authorities can use evolving financial technology to set up smart and integrated ticketing, such as a national ‘Pay As You Go’ scheme.
Development in airspace regulation to allow flying taxis and drone deliveries: Airspace infrastructure will need to be automated, digitalised, and reimagined to accommodate these new modes. Airspace regulation will have to evolve to manage the potential rise of short-distance electric taxis sharing airspace with drone deliveries. This may involve creating safety standards and air corridors to minimise the impact on city inhabitants while still reaping the benefits.
Increase in electrification of rail: Electrification of the rail network will be primarily driven by Network Rail's ability to deploy infrastructure. Anticipated investment requirements for Network Rail are sizable due to the complexity of retrofitting rail infrastructure. However, reductions in electrification programmes and uncertainty over the direction of government policy is likely to delay progress.
Demand-responsive public transport to improve efficiency of rural services: Demand-response transport services that provide on-demand services for routes rather than timed services have undergone experimentation in the UK and abroad and could emerge as a more efficient means of delivering access to public transport outside of urban areas. This could save costs and improve user convenience by only delivering a route when needed, saving public authorities' money that can be redeployed elsewhere in the transport network.
Bus electrification: As emissions and air quality concerns for urban environments increases, many city authorities are expected to set ambitious bus electrification targets. Bus electrification presents unique challenges and advantages compared to road vehicle electrification. These could be addressed by alternative technologies, such as rapid charging, depot charging and battery swapping.
Future of freight: As the freight sector grows to keep pace with rapidly evolving consumer trends, like same day delivery, local and regional authorities will need to actively reduce congestion and carbon emissions through incentives that encourage companies to undertake off-peak delivery or store their freight more efficiently in multi-company consolidation centres.
2040 combustion vehicle ban and fleet electrification incentives: The UK has set out an ambitious electrification policy in its Road to Zero strategy, proposing to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040 and to remove them from roads entirely by 2050. In doing so, the UK joins a number of countries that have committed to electrifying their fleets in order to help improve local air quality and meet global climate change targets.
Potential Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) or road usage tax to offset loss of tax revenue: As EV adoption increases, the UK Government is facing a dual-fold challenge: funding the EV transition (through EV and EV infrastructure funding and developments) and the prospect of reduced vehicle excise duty and fuel duty income as the transition becomes successful.
While taxing older and more emission-emitting vehicles may be a short-term solution, in the future, MaaS or by-mileage road use taxes may be necessary to fairly recoup the cost of road maintenance and infrastructure development.