The UK Government has announced its intention to invest £2billion in sustainable transport infrastructure: targeted mainly on pedestrians and cyclists; with public transport being predicted to have as little as 20% of its pre COVID volumes due to social distancing (until such time that a cure has been found) the government is seeking alternative ways to ensure that the public can safely return to work.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has fast-tracked statutory guidance encouraging councils to reallocate roadspace for significantly-increased numbers of cyclists, pedestrians and potentially e-scooters. Mr Shapps said:

“…with public transport’s capacity severely restricted at this time, our trains and buses could become overcrowded and our roads gridlocked – holding up emergency services, critical workers and vital supplies…

…We know cars will continue to remain vital for many, but as we look to the future we must build a better country with greener travel habits…”

The announcement suggests that the £2billion of investment will be focused on the following key sustainable travel initiatives:

  • pop-up cycle lanes;
  • wider pavements;
  • e-scooter trials accelerated;
  • more protected space for pedestrians and cyclists; and
  • introduction of low-traffic neighbourhoods

Whilst the Governments greener travel initiative comes as no huge revelation given the unprecedented uptake of walking and cycling over recent weeks; perhaps more surprisingly, is their commitment to bring forward the e-scooter trials in a bid to change the UK’s public transport landscape forever.

e-scooters, which have the ability to travel up to 15mph, are currently banned on both the carriageway and footpaths in the uk; yet the minster has made a firm commitment over the weekend to bring the trail programme forward to June 2020.

mode transport planning will keep a close eye on the governments assessment of e-scooters as well as the design impacts of social distancing on our footpaths, cycle routes and public spaces; we are sure that there will be many creative ideas and exciting changes that will manifest itself through the impacts of COVID-19 post lockdown!