United Kingdom: Future of Mobility Grand Challenge

The government of the United Kingdom publishes two
"calls for evidence" with a focus on the changes in mobility. 

An announcement on the website of the British government today provided more information on an initiative aiming to explore how technology could transform transport - "making it safer, more accessible and greener than ever". 

The Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, a government initiative that aims to make the United Kingdom the leader in the movement of goods, services, and people is being kickstarted today through the publication of two relevant calls for evidence / documents: "Last Mile" and "Future of Mobility Call for Evidence". Along the relevant documents, the government also confirmed a £12.1m ($16m) funding towards six projects on the development of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles. 

The two documents/calls that have been published have slightly different aims. 

The "Future of Mobility Call for Evidence" aims to attract the views of anyone with an interest in how we get around (along with relevant evidence). These should focus on the ways the government can ensure a smooth transition to the future of mobility, and include, among other things, assessments of the emerging trends that will shape urban mobility in the next 20 years, comments on the current regulatory framework and how it can be reshaped to accommodate the future of mobility, as well as views on the currently existing barriers to data sharing and use. 

The "Last Mile", whose name is slightly more general than its actual focus, only welcomes views on last mile cargo transportation. More specifically, the last mile consultation welcomes comments and ideas on the ways "electrically powered e-vans, micro vehicles and e-cargo bikes can provide better service to customers for cargo in comparison to light commercial vehicles". The focus of the initiative also extends to any barriers to sustainable last mile delivery and any incentives that should be provided to facilitate transition to clean, last-mile delivery options, among other things. 

Along with the aforementioned initiatives, the British government announced the hiring of Ian Robertson, formerly a board member of the German automaker, BMW, as a Business Champion to help advise, shape, and develop the overarching project. 

The engaged approach of the United Kingdom when it comes to the future of mobility is indicative of a country that has long been considered a leader in the field of transportation. British urban centres, such as London and Manchester, are renowned for the variety of transportation options available. It will be interesting to observe the transition to a connected, autonomous future, and how it will be adopted in the UK. The density of underground and communal bike stations (Santander Bikes) in central London, for example, may suggest that new last mile solutions would have little room for success.