Most visions of the future for urban transport share at least one common theme: less reliance on cars and greater use of public transport and ‘active travel’, such as walking and cycling. This means households and employers making more considered choices about when to use cars, with greater awareness of the alternatives and access to them. BVRLA members recognise they have a critical role to play in delivering this transport behaviour change.
Very few future transport visions give much thought to how to encourage people to make the transition to shared or more active travel, nor to ensuring that the right car choices are available to people when they need them. Simply ignoring the car, or attempting to push it out of the picture altogether, is not a viable approach. Policymakers at national and local levels need conscious, considered car strategies in order to enable change in the way cars are used.
There are over 30 million cars on the roads in the UK today and yet the way we use our cars and how we transition to a ‘car lite’ future is barely addressed.
The BVRLA’s Cars in the City report cited research findings that show many people are unaware of the range of options available. It also found that the quality of public transport options has a large impact on whether people move to more flexible car usage or stop travelling by private car altogether. There are several areas across the UK where the provision of public transport is inadequate and where the distances travelled are too far to walk or cycle. In many parts of the UK car travel is the consequently the only viable option.
Car rental, car clubs and other forms of flexible, pay-as-you-go car use offer an immediate safe, sustainable and inclusive solution to those who may be unable to walk or cycle. This kind of shared transport can complement active travel and the use of public transport by giving people the confidence to give up a privately-owned car in the knowledge that they can always access one if needed.
Mobility credits are an important tool which can influence behaviour change and promote the use of MaaS to parts of the community which may not be fully aware of all the transport options on offer.
The 'Mobility Credits Scrappage Scheme' policy paper makes the case for a nationally funded, locally targeted vehicle scrappage scheme that offers a mobility credit in exchange for a household scrapping its older, polluting vehicle.
Individuals receive a credits payment of between £2500 and £4000 which can be redeemed against travel journeys with a range of transport providers, including car rental/car clubs, in return for scrapping their car. This promotes the use of public transport and more active travel and moves people away from buying another polluting vehicle. Mobility credits can be tailored to the needs of the local community. In areas with high unemployment they could be offered as a way to help people travel to job interviews when walking or cycling may not be viable.
Both central and local government have a role to fund and trial mobility credits, sharing best practice and using this as a way to deliver positive public policy outcomes. Recent trials involving BVRLA members have shown that using car rental and car clubs as part of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) pilots has led to an overall increase in active travel and public transport use.
There is growing evidence that flexible car use leads to:
- Fewer private cars on the road
- Reduced mileage
- Increased occupancy
- Increased car utilisation and
- Greater use of public transport and active travel
Mobility credits can easily be incorporated into MaaS platforms and would encourage more active and sustainable travel. The Government should invest in further trials of MaaS and also seek to establish a Mobility Innovation Fund to help cash and resource strapped local authorities as they work with local transport operators and residents to develop new, integrated mobility services.
Shared Mobility Taskforce
The Government should look to establish a Shared Mobility Taskforce. The taskforce would bring together representatives for all transport modes, including shared car use, to work collaboratively to find solutions to common problems and to identify opportunities for joint working which are complimentary, plugging any gaps in service provision. The taskforce should aim to look at how to retain some of the air quality benefits witnessed as a result of the coronavirus as well as address how to encourage people to make greater use of public transport and active travel options. It also needs to act quickly to ensure the opportunities to influence behaviour change are embraced and to buck the trend of growing private car ownership.
Mobility Innovation Fund
A Mobility Innovation Fund should be established to help cash and resource-strapped local authorities as they work with local transport operators and residents to develop new, integrated mobility services including MaaS and Mobility Credit trials.
Future Mobility Working Group
The group is designed to support the BVRLA’s policy work in this area by members providing expertise, knowledge and case studies which demonstrate how members are adapting their business models and overcoming potential obstacles to meet future mobility challenges. Key areas of focus are on the skills and capacity needed to repair, service and maintain electric, connected and autonomous vehicles; creating a fair and competitive environment for mobility services and a roadmap for urban transport behaviour change.
To get involved contact BVRLA Senior Policy Advisor, Catherine Bowen
Fleets in Charge Events Programme
The BVRLA’s Fleets in Charge programme explores the latest technologies and business models and the policy environment that surrounds it. You will hear from expert speakers from across government, automotive and the fleet sector who will share key analysis and the latest insights into the current journey towards transport decarbonisation in the UK.
Changing Transport Behaviour Resources