Pedestrianisation and Micromobility

June 27, 2022


What has been clear over the past few weeks of micromobility conferences in the UK. Along with local elections in May is the political capital for low traffic neighbourhoods aka pedestrianisation goes hand in hand with the rise of micromobility.

What we know for sure is the UK's micromobility laws are currently been sculpted to go to Parliment in 2023. A little later than hoped, due to the pandemic.

While the Government is providing grants for high street renewals. Which include limiting traffic to improve the high street environment. Plus and possibly more profound is the rise of low traffic neighbourhoods.

Low traffic Neighbourhoods:

Where residental neighbourhoods have a reduction but not a complete termination of traffic within a neighbourhood. Esstientially prevnting cans running through a neighbourhood. The neighbourhood roads turn to be used for the neighbourhood and not overall urban traffic management. Though princibly in London, the recent addition of LTN has had mixed views. The think Tank 'Centre for London' is quoted in saying:

'Councils try to reach out better to communities ahead of future projects and seek to depoliticise the issue, with one idea being to use a different term from LTN, one not associated with the wave of schemes introduced in 2020, such as “healthy neighbourhoods” or “quiet neighbourhoods.

The centre for London, went on to say the best thing would be to continue with LTNs but to also introduce complementary measures such as road pricing and protected cycle lanes.

Taking the massive increas in Cycle lanes and now LTNs. Local Government has begun to understand that removing or limiting the car is an important step to happier streets.

Nicolas Bosetti, the author of the report said the evidence showed LTNs could be effective, “but it doesn’t mean they should be done on the cheap”.

He said: “They should also be complemented by additional measures that discourage driving private cars and provide practical alternatives for both short and long journeys. That means funding for better-looking streets, protected cycle lanes and complementary measures such as car scrappage schemes and mobility credits, as well as improved public transport.”

While the rise of Micromobility provides a lot of the answers to bring about these LTNS.

Scott Thompson from The Niche Vehicle Network, which incubates and develops these new forms of light weight electric vehicles goes on to say;

Niche Vehicle Network Micromobility

“Over the past three years we’ve seen an accelerated level of interest from UK companies seeking funding to support the development of new and innovative products in the micromobility sector.

We’ve been involved in supporting the development of a new e-cargo trike, a drivetrain solution for last mile delivery vehicles, a new electric pedal assisted solar taxi concept, a new lightweight e-scooter, a locker based charger solution for e-scooters and a static and portable off-grid charging solution for e-bikes and e-cargo bikes.

Particularly within urban environments, it’s clear to see that smaller, purpose designed micromobility e-cargo solutions not only offer potentially significant economic and environmental benefits compared to the use of vans or cars, but they also have the ability to reduce congestion with their smaller footprint.

In fact, many of them are specifically designed as narrow vehicles to enable them to be used in cycle lanes. With e-scooters set to become legal for private owners in 2023, that also offers a great opportunity for people that might otherwise have used a bus or car for short journeys to consider owning and using an e-scooter for their journeys instead.

But encouraging people to adopt micromobility isn’t without it’s challenges. Driving in a car or a van does give the driver a sense of personal security and comfort, so we need to consider how we can make micromobility users feel less vunerable on the roads if we want to increase adoption and migrate people out of their cars and vans. Equally, ensuring that there are sufficient safe and secure places to store and charge them within our urban environments is going to become an increasingly important consideration, for the micromobility users, businesses operating them and pedestrians. It does require a mindset and infrastructure change compared to the current status quo if we’re to really maximise the opportunity that micromobility solutions could offer us.”