The current lockdown situation, as well as social distancing rules, are making travelling for many people extremely difficult. Public transport has a limited capacity (however, people in busier areas do not seem to respect social distancing rules, more than likely without choice) and many car parks are unavailable during lockdown. Recently, the government has announced some exciting new plans to promote sustainable personal travel in cities as we transition to more sustainable means of transportation on a daily basis.
Published this month, the government is investing £2bn into creating a ‘new era’ for cycling and walking as part of an initiative to encourage more people to walk and cycle to relieve some of the pressures that public transport are facing currently. The short term aim of this investment is to repurpose roads in urban areas to allow for more cyclists and pedestrians and encourage people to travel safely and sustainably.
“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, cleaner air and healthier communities.”
This comes as a pleasant surprise from the government, who are under a lot of scrutiny currently for the way they have handled the current lockdown situation. As part of this scheme, they are aiming to double the number of cyclers while also increasing walking.
A few months ago I discussed the potential of electric scooters as a new form of personal transport within cities (LINK BELOW). It seems as though the government will now begin to roll out trials in major cities and high population density areas to increase the number of options available for people in terms of personal transportation. Electric scooters have seen huge success in areas of Europe and mainly the United States, now the U.K has an opportunity to promote sustainable personal transportation while easing pressure on public transportation during these difficult times.
Cars Banned around Schools?
Another area which is increasingly under the spotlight is the schools. Prior to lockdown, there was a huge focus, mainly on the community level, to prevent cars from idling in front of schools, to create cleaner air around children as studies showed that air pollution was having an impact on children’s health. Many local schools took it upon themselves to campaign against their own parents to travel more sustainably to schools and increase the air quality around them. As part of this new government scheme, there are new plans to close roads around the schools, to encourage parents and children to find alternative and sustainable ways to travel to school. It is incredibly reassuring to see the success of a bottom-up scheme, such as the community campaigning, be followed up by a top-down government scheme to further promote the initiative.
There are more schemes and initiatives evolving weekly during lockdown and it is encouraging to see that the government is not sacrificing their morals around sustainable development, but rather using this time as an opportunity to further accelerate ambitions of becoming a sustainable nation.
Link to the electric scooters article: Electric Scooters - A New Transport Alternative?