COVENTRY has been chosen to be one of the first places in the UK to trial the use of e-scooters in public places when the Coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted.
The Government has selected the city, along with Birmingham, for the exploration which could revolutionise the way people travel whilst at the same time combating climate change.
There is expected to be extra pressure on the region’s transport network when the quarantine ends and people will still be urged to socially distance on their daily commute. And it is thought e-scooters could help provide an answer.
Up until now the transport mode has only been legal on private land but all that will end when the trial begins.
Transport For West Midlands (TfWM), Coventry City Council and Birmingham City Council will now work together to test the technology and better understand the benefits the new form of transport could bring.
The priority of the study will be working out how they can be used safely in urban environments and how they can be part of the integrated transport system and how they are used in other countries.
E-scooters are already available to hire and providing a clean and efficient form of travel in large cities such as Barcelona and Vienna.
Using a dock system, they can be quickly hired and easily transported on other forms of public transport giving people greater flexibility to travel.
They can be more appealing to some users than traditional bike hire as they are more manoeuvrable and require less levels of fitness to operate.
The trial will also look at what types of scooters can be used to provide the best experience, how technology can support travel and safety, and what user training and advice is needed.
The Department for Transport, as part of its efforts to help ease the pressure on local public transport services during the Coronavirus recovery phase, wants to see how e-scooters can complement existing transport options, especially for short trips.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “The region is proud to be leading the way on future transport development, and I am pleased the Government has put its faith us in again with this new and innovative trial of e-scooters.
“This trial will help bring more flexibility, choice, and greener travel solutions for the region, at a time when we are facing a climate emergency and urging people to leave the car at home.
“No region is better equipped than the West Midlands to test, review, and implement trials such as these at pace and scale, and that is testament to the hard work and innovation of those working in our future transport sector.”
On Saturday the Government announced plans to invest £2 billion in cycling and walking to help get Britain moving again over the coming months and encourage a new age of greener active travel solutions, encouraging people to continue the good travel habits they have developed while in lockdown.
TfWM managing director Laura Shoaf said: “We are pleased the Government is to invest heavily in cycling and walking, not just to support the current situation, but to provide long-term benefits and we will be working hard with our local authority partners to boost the availability of greener active travel solutions for West Midlands residents.”
Also on Saturday, the Government announced its four chosen UK Future Mobility Zones – the West Midlands, West of England Combined Authority, Portsmouth and Southampton and Derby and Nottingham – to conduct the trials.