Tag Archive: UK

  1. Registration open for TRL’s Discover:Innovation Day 2024

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    Source: TRL

    TRL’s world-leading Smart Mobility Living Lab in London will host Discover: Innovation Day on Wednesday, 17th July. The event promises a day filled with exciting innovations in transport mobility.

    Attendees will have the opportunity to experience the latest advancements in transportation technology from TRL and its partners. The event will bring together industry leaders, visionary entrepreneurs, and cutting-edge innovators.

    Reasons to Attend:

    • Discover the Future: Explore the latest trends and technologies transforming the mobility landscape, from electric and autonomous vehicles to smart city infrastructure and sustainable transportation solutions.
    • Network with Visionaries: Connect with key players in the industry, expand professional networks, and forge valuable partnerships.
    • Experience Innovation: Engage with interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, and thought-provoking insights.

    Click here to register.

  2. 2024 City Rating reveals cycling disparities across England

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    Source: BikeBiz

    The latest City Ratings, a data analysis tool assessing the bike-friendliness of global cities and towns, has been released. The new annual data reveals that while London leads in England, the country as a whole lags significantly behind other European nations.

    This information is concerning for cyclists and transport advocates, four years after the launch of Gear Change, the outgoing government’s flagship cycling initiative. Gear Change aimed for 50% of urban journeys to be made by walking or cycling by 2030, yet PeopleForBikes’ data highlights the continued lack of safe cycling infrastructure.

    The City Ratings, calculated annually since 2017 by the US advocacy group PeopleForBikes, evaluate cities’ bike network quality and connectivity, including protected bike lanes, bike paths, low speed limits, and safe crossings. This year, the data for England covers London, Greater Manchester, the West Midlands, Yorkshire, Surrey, Cheshire, Oxford, Cambridge, and more.

    London leads the way

    London leads England in cycling amenities, with 16 of the 20 highest-rated boroughs. Cambridge holds the top spot with a score of 84 out of 100, followed by Hackney and Islington, both scoring 82. These areas have fewer “high stress” roads and feature low-speed limits (20 mph). On average, London scores 69, Greater Manchester 49, and the West Midlands 46.

    The aim of the data is to highlight the best cities and towns for cycling and provide city leaders and campaigners with actionable insights to improve cycling in their communities. This release coincides with political parties making transport commitments and outlining their visions for Active Travel.

    In London, the lowest-rated boroughs are Bromley (52), Harrow (51), and Barnet (50), illustrating the significant variation within the city.

    England continues to lag behind other European countries

    Compared to Europe, England lags behind, with the Netherlands dominating the top 10 with five cities: The Hague (89), Utrecht (86), Almere (85), Eindhoven (85), and Amsterdam (85). France, Belgium, and Germany also feature in the top 10. Paris ranks second overall with a score of 87. Internationally, three London boroughs rank among the top 20: Hackney (13th, 82), Islington (15th, 82), and Southwark (19th, 80).

    The West Midlands and Greater Manchester

    The West Midlands and Greater Manchester have shown significant commitments to cycling. Greater Manchester’s Mayor Andy Burnham launched the Bee Network, integrating transport and cycling, though he faced criticism for rejecting a Clean Air Zone. Greater Manchester’s average rating of 49 lags behind London. The West Midlands, including Birmingham, aims to establish itself as the UK’s second city but falls behind Manchester in the 2024 ratings. Investments and progress under outgoing mayor Andy Street are noted, with campaigners urging similar ambition from the new Labour mayor Richard Parker.

    Amid a general election, campaigners and local authorities seek clarity on the incoming government’s approach to Active Travel. PeopleForBikes hopes this data will empower activists and stakeholders to advocate for safer cycling infrastructure and its benefits.

    Jenn Dice, PeopleForBikes’ president and CEO, stated, “The data for England clearly shows not only a divide between London and other cities but also between England and other European countries. We hope this data provides valuable insights for local authorities, campaigners, and everyone advocating for better cycling infrastructure.

    These ratings highlight the progress and ongoing challenges for UK cycling infrastructure. Cambridge’s top ranking and the strong performance of several London boroughs demonstrate what is possible with committed leadership and investment in safe, accessible cycling. Our goal with this data is to celebrate successes and provide actionable steps for city leaders and campaigners to improve cycling infrastructure in their communities. As political parties outline their transportation visions, they must prioritize active transportation to create healthier, more sustainable cities.

  3. How compact electric vehicles could challenge the dominance of SUVs

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    Source: The Guardian

    The Guardian reports on driving through the streets of central London in a diminutive Microlino electric car, as its petite frame contrasts sharply with the towering SUVs, it draws an unexpected amount of attention. Passersby cheerfully nicknamed the vehicle “Lego car.”

    A quirky innovation from Micro

    Made by Micro, the Swiss family-owned company renowned for its mini-micro kick scooters, the Microlino embodies the retro charm of 1950s bubble cars. Measuring a mere 2.5 meters in length—just marginally smaller than a Smart car—it boasts a unique front door and a rear hatch for accessing the boot. Its innovative design, with the windscreen and bonnet swinging open, facilitates seamless entry and exit.

    Challenging the dominance of SUVs

    As the Microlino makes its debut in the UK market, it defies the prevailing trend favouring larger vehicles, particularly SUVs. Despite environmental concerns and warnings from experts, SUVs accounted for nearly half of global car sales in 2023, marking a significant shift towards larger, heavier automobiles.

    In the congested streets of London, the Microlino stands out, attracting countless double takes, waves, and laughter. Cyclists engage in conversations at traffic lights, while even bus drivers pause to offer enthusiastic gestures of approval. Its manoeuvrability makes it ideal for urban navigation, although its range of 136 miles and top speed of 56mph allow for occasional longer trips.

    Parking snugly between luxury vehicles like Bentleys and Land Rover Defenders in affluent London districts exemplifies the Microlino’s adaptability. Despite the prevalence of SUVs, in these areas including Chelsea, a posh area of London that gave name to the “Chelsea tractors”, compact cars like the Microlino find their place.

    Factors driving the trend towards larger cars

    The reach of SUV’s go far beyond affluent areas. David Bailey, a professor of business economics at the University of Birmingham, explored the various factors contribute to the proliferation of larger vehicles, including customer demand for spacious interiors and a commanding view of the road. Regulatory requirements, such as safety features and emissions control systems, also influence car sizes, with smaller vehicles facing higher production costs.

    Environmental implications of car size

    The expansion of car sizes poses significant environmental challenges, with larger vehicles consuming more fossil fuels and emitting higher levels of carbon dioxide. Additionally, the production of electric SUVs requires substantial quantities of minerals, hindering decarbonization efforts. Moreover, larger vehicles contribute to increased tire pollution and pedestrian fatalities, particularly among women and children.

    Trends towards smaller electric vehicles

    The imminent launch of smaller, more affordable electric models, such as the Renault 5 and the Dacia Spring, offers promise for accelerating the transition away from fossil fuels. However, limited offerings from major manufacturers hinder progress, with only a few ventures into the realm of truly compact electric cars.

    China emerges as a dominant force in the market for tiny electric cars, leveraging cheap lithium iron phosphate batteries to produce affordable models like the Geometry Panda, Mini EV, and Baojun Yep. These compact vehicles offer SUV styling in a compact package, reflecting a growing trend towards smaller, more efficient transportation solutions.

    Microlino’s vision

    Merlin Ouboter, the driving force behind the Microlino project, envisions a future where compact, efficient vehicles like the Microlino revolutionize urban transportation. Designed for short-distance travel, the Microlino aims to address the majority of daily commuting needs while promoting shared mobility solutions for longer journeys.

    Policy interventions for sustainable transport

    Advocates like James Nix emphasize the need for policy interventions to promote sustainable transportation practices. Measures such as higher parking fees for large vehicles and increased sales taxes can help mitigate the growing size of cars and encourage the adoption of more environmentally friendly alternatives. Emulating successful initiatives implemented in countries like France could pave the way for a more sustainable evolution of the European car fleet.

  4. Global micromobility market predicted to be worth $250 billion by 2035

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    Source: ZAG Daily

    According to McKinsey and Zag Daily, the global micromobility market is anticipated to reach $520 billion by 2035. This projection marks a substantial increase of $360 billion from its current value and $180 billion from McKinsey’s previous estimate for 2030.

    The unveiling of McKinsey’s findings precedes a panel discussion titled ‘McKinsey’s Latest Micromobility Market Sizing and Consumer Insights,’ scheduled to be hosted by Associate Partner Anja Huber and Expert Darius Scurtu at the Micromobility Europe expo in Amsterdam.

    The main underlying drivers for our predictions on the global micromobility market are regulation and consumer behaviour,” Darius Scurtu from the McKinsey Center for Future Mobility said.

    We expect that cities and countries will continue to support micromobility to reach their climate targets as one of many “sustainable” modes, and thus further invest in micromobility infrastructure, provide purchase subsidies, or partner with private micromobility operators.

    We also see rising consumer interest to integrate micromobility into their everyday lives, since modes such as e-bikes allow for longer trips and more use cases, and since micromobility will often become the cheaper and more convenient mode of travel compared to private cars, particularly in inner cities.”

    Market dynamics

    Currently, the top five European countries collectively command nearly 50% of the European micromobility market, totalling a value pool of $29 billion. Among these leading markets, Germany, France, and the UK claim the top spots. McKinsey defines value pools as encompassing one-time vehicle sales along with downstream revenues such as aftermarket services and maintenance.

    Attributing the dominance of these markets to factors like population size, pricing of micromobility vehicles, and existing bicycle infrastructure, McKinsey predicts market consolidation over the next three years, with slower uptake compared to initial forecasts due to subdued consumer demand.

    E-bikes and consumer preferences

    McKinsey’s research also reveals that e-bikes presently constitute nearly 40% of Europe’s micromobility market, valued at approximately $22 billion. This segment is projected to grow at a rate of 13% annually, reaching $110 billion by 2035. The increasing preference for e-bikes is evident from consumers’ willingness to spend 9% more on their next bicycle purchase, driven by factors like convenience and expanding use cases.

    Darius emphasized the versatility of e-bikes, which cater to various needs effortlessly, making them more appealing to consumers compared to conventional bikes or other micromobility options. Their Mobility Consumer Survey from 2024 indicates that a majority of e-bike owners use their vehicles for everyday commuting, underscoring its popularity among global consumers.

  5. TRA finds scrapping e-bike tariffs could save UK £51m per year

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    Source TRA – The Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) has published its initial findings recommending that anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures on electric bicycles (e-bikes) from China should be revoked. 

    Following the transition reviews of the measures, the TRA found that keeping them in place would not be in the economic interest of the UK. Revoking the measures could:

    • benefit the UK economy by an average of £51m per year;
    • save consumers an average of £260 per e-bike; and
    • result in an average of 31,000 more e-bikes being bought per year in the UK.

    Sales of e-bikes in the UK reached an estimated £325 million in 2023, compared with £96 million in 2018, and are expected to grow further in the coming years. Although it is likely that dumping and subsidisation of Chinese e-bikes would likely recur if the measures were no longer applied and that the UK production industry would suffer some injury, it was found that this injury did not outweigh the benefits to the UK economy or consumers if the measures were revoked.

    TRA Chief Executive Oliver Griffiths said:We always assess the impact of a trade remedy measure on the UK economy. Our interim conclusion is that the benefits to UK bicycle producers from continuing the current measures on e-bikes would be significantly outweighed by harm to the rest of the economy. We project that removing the measures could save consumers around £260 per e-bike and could benefit the UK economy by around £51 million annually.

    Alternative options

    Under the UK’s revised trade remedies regime, if the TRA finds that a measure is not in the economic interest of the UK, it offers the Secretary of State for Business and Trade alternative options to revoking the measures.

    These alternative options included only applying the measures to folding e-bikes as UK producers are more heavily concentrated in this market. A period of consultation is now open for on all of the options presented, after which the TRA will make its final recommendation to the Secretary of State.

    As part of these reviews, for the first time, the TRA conducted a consumer survey as part of its assessment of how measures on these imports would affect the overall UK economy. The survey targeted e-bike customers and helped the TRA assess consumer sensitivity to e-bike prices. 

    Businesses that may be affected by the reviews (such as importers or exporters of the products or UK producers of similar products) can now comment on the initial findings via the TRA’s online case platform. They can also stay up to date with developments in each case, which will be posted on the TRA’s public files.

    Following Article 21 of the Basic Regulation, the EU Commission also has a legal duty to determine whether it’s in the interest of the whole EU Community. “(…) whether the Community interest calls for intervention shall be based on an appreciation of all the various interests as a whole, including the interests of the domestic industry and users and consumers; (…) Measures, as determined on the basis of the dumping and the injury found, may not be applied where the authorities, on the basis of all the information submitted, can clearly conclude that it is not in the Community interest to apply such measures.

    LEVA-EU has already raised the issue of Community interest with the Commission, given the enormous difficulties and damage caused by trade defense measures to EU companies and the wider implications for sustainable mobility and public health.

    If the Commission would be willing to test the Community interest in this year’s reviews, with the same thoroughness as TRA applied in the Economic Interest Test, there is a very good chance that the measures will also prove to cause much more damage to the EU than the benefits they bring to those few EU manufacturers who continue to defend the measures through thick and thin.

    . If the Commission would be willing to test the Community interest in this year’s reviews, with the same thoroughness as TRA applied in the Economic Interest Test, there is a very good chance that the measures will also prove to cause much more damage to the EU than the benefits they bring to those few EU manufacturers who continue to defend the measures through thick and thin.

    Photo by James Giddins on Unsplash

  6. CoMo Bike Share Annual Reports, UK and Scotland

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    Source: CoMoUK

    The CoMoUK annual Bike Share Report (released for the UK and Scotland) provides key insight into understanding the performance and impacts of the UK’s bike share schemes.

    The 8th annual report provides new insights into the impact of bike share schemes, with CoMoUK highlighting “It provides new evidence for the positive environmental, economic and social effects of bike share schemes on individuals and communities. More than two thirds of respondents reported an increase in their trips by bike. This will be supported by greater access to e-bikes. E-bikes now outnumber conventional pedal bikes in the fleets of UK bike share schemes. 57% of the approximate 25 million hires per year, (between September 2022 and September 2023), were made with e-bikes.

    Key findings

    1. Bike sharing motivates people to take up cycling.

    UK (left), Scotland (right)

    2. Bike share incentivises more cycling journeys.

    UK (left), Scotland (right)

    3. Bike share increases levels of physical activity.

    UK (left), Scotland (right)

    4. Bike share reduces Carbon emissions

    UK (left), Scotland (right)

    Click here to access the UK’s full report.

    Click here to access Scotland’s full report.

  7. UK government plug-in grant set to end for electric mopeds

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    Source: Motorcycle Trader

    The UK government has revealed its intentions for a partial extension of the Plug-in Motorcycle Grant (PIMG) specifically for motorcycles. However, it has advised that the scheme will cease for new L1e moped orders by the end of the current financial year (5th April 2024).

    The government announcement states “The PIMG was intended to bridge the cost between zero emission models and petrol/diesel equivalents, to  encourage early market growth. The grant has successfully provided more than £7m to support the purchase of over 12,000 vehicles.

    “With the market share for electric mopeds at over 40% in 2022, up from 1.8% in 2016, the Government has decided to close the PIMG for mopeds. The grant remains available for new L1e moped orders to be placed until 5 April 2024 only.

    “The government has always been clear that all plug-in vehicle grants would eventually end and previously confirmed funding until the 2023/24 financial year. However, the government recognises that continued support for motorcycles is needed in its transition to zero-emission.

    “We are therefore pleased to confirm that the PIMG will continue to be available for L3e-category vehicles (motorcycles) into the next financial year (2024/25), with no change to the grant rate.

    “The guidance on the GOV.UK website will be updated to reflect this announcement in due course. All plug-in vehicle grants will remain under review to deliver the greatest value for money for the taxpayer.”

  8. UK Department for Transport opens consultation on proposed changes to legislation for electrically assisted pedal cycles

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    The consultation seeks views on the proposed changes, and any benefits or risks people think the changes may have

    A welcome opportunity to feed back on LEV legislation has arisen in the UK. The British government proposes 2 changes to the regulations on electrically assisted pedal cycles (EAPCs or e-cycles):

    • to amend the legal definition of EAPCs, so that the maximum continuous power output of the electric motor is 500 watts instead of 250 watts
    • to allow ‘twist and go’ EAPCs to have throttle assistance up to 15.5mph (25km/h) without the need for type approval

    The proposal reasons that:

    “E-cycles can address the problems of ill-health, air pollution, carbon emissions and congestion, which are caused by externalities in the transport market. Some groups of people (for example older people, disabled people or people with mobility impairments) and freight operators seeking to move heavier loads are less likely or able to cycle without the electrical assistance provided by e-cycles and e-cargo bikes. Since current regulatory standards limit the power of e-cycles, government intervention is necessary to address this”

    The policy documents further acknowledge the role of EAPCs in contributing to active travel. improved air quality, and reduced traffic congestion. The benefits of increased power and throttle assistance are aligned with better accessibility for older riders, those with limited mobility, those in hilly areas, and those with greater loads such as freight and cargo riders.

    This consultation closes at 11:59pm UTC on 25 April 2024.

    View and respond to the consultation here.

  9. UK government publishes new guidance to enhance e-bike and e-scooter safety

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    Source: GOV.UK

    Guidance includes information on how to safely buy, store and charge e-cycles and e-scooters.

    Information around how to safely purchase, charge and use e-bikes and e-scooters has been published by the UK government to improve consumer safety.

    After thorough consultation with the industry, guidance on battery safety has been developed for both e-scooters and e-bikes, which aims to enhance awareness among owners regarding the safe purchase of e-cycles or e-scooters, ensuring compliance with manufacturing requirements, and promoting transactions with reputable sellers. The documents cover information on secure storage and charging, the warning signs for fire risk and how to address them, and responsible battery disposal. The guidance also emphasises that legal use of e-scooters on roads is restricted unless they are part of an official rental trial.

    Separate guidance has been issued to assist public transport operators in evaluating and managing fire risks associated with the transportation of e-bikes and e-scooters on trains and buses. Similar information has been produced for those managing premises such as schools and workplaces.

    Minister Anthony Browne, responsible for Technology and Decarbonisation, affirmed that “Safety has always been our top priority, which is why our latest guidance aims to improve the awareness of e-bike and e-scooter users in the trial areas where they’re authorised.”

    This announcement follows the Home Office’s advice on fire safety for e-scooters and e-bikes published last year. To further understand the safety of lithium-ion batteries used in e-cycles and e-scooters, the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is presently conducting a safety study and taking enforcement measures when unsafe products are found.

    The extension of e-scooter trials until May 2026 will facilitate further insights across various areas, including usage, safety and environmental impacts, and the exploration of travel behaviour changes since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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