Revealing its industrial strategy, the Government has stated its belief that the UK can build on its historic record of innovation in transport by globally leading the way on new mobility technology.
Published last month, the report – called “Building a Britain Fit for the Future” – identified artificial intelligence and big data, environmentally-friendly growth, and the aging society as the other three ‘grand’ challenges of a fourth industrial revolution, in which the UK has an opportunity to play a pivotal role.
Promising the publication of a ‘Future of Urban Mobility’ strategy document within the next year, the Government is encouraging academia and business to collaborate on the development and innovation of new technologies and industries.
“We are on the cusp of a profound change in how we move people, goods and services around our towns, cities and countryside,” the white paper said.
“New market entrants and new business models, such as ride-hailing services, ride sharing and ‘mobility as a service’, are challenging our assumptions about how we travel.”
Clearly stated in the document is the Government’s belief in the power of technology to transform the public transport system. “The UK’s road and rail network could dramatically reduce carbon emissions and other pollutants, congestion could be reduced through higher-density use of road space enabled by automated vehicles, and mobility could be available when we want it, where we want it and how we want it,” it said.
On top of the Government’s proposed mobility strategy, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) intends to launch a new innovation prize with the aim of sourcing ways to adapt roadbuilding techniques to better support connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs). The West Midlands, one of the UK’s most prominent centres of expertise on CAVs, will be a key testing location in this initiative.
Welcoming mobility as a key area of development focus, CEO of the Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) Paul Campion said: “The way we travel and move goods will change dramatically in the next decade. The industrial strategy is an opportunity to make sure the UK is at the forefront of this revolution, rather than being mere passengers – with the economic rewards going overseas.”
“We are also seeing a large number of new businesses being created around the use of data to improve transport infrastructure, planning and customer experience,” said Campion.
TSC’s Intelligent Mobility Accelerator, although newly conceived, has had no lack of applications for development of new transport technologies within the UK.
“With this background we are confident that increased investment in future mobility can lead to high quality jobs, innovation and growth in the UK economy – even as we compete on the world stage with the likes of China and the US,” concluded Campion.