Developing solutions to sustainable urban mobility

With the need to join up local and national government policy-making, the Urban Mobility Partnership has been formed to develop and accelerate the solutions needed to encourage sustainable travel and reduce single-occupancy journeys. James Lancaster, Chair of the Urban Mobility Partnership and Head of European Mobility at Enterprise explains.

Transport is one of the biggest causes of pollution and was the largest emitting sector in the UK in 2022. If the UK is to meet  the aims of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan and net zero targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support a greener transport future, innovative and sustainable urban mobility solutions must be developed to decentivise the use of single-occupancy journeys and encourage greater multi-modal sustainable travel options. The Urban Mobility Partnership (UMP), a mobility coalition and policy forum, was established in order to develop these necessary practical policy solutions and work with local and national government on their implementation.

In 2018, leading UK transport operators Enterprise Mobility and Stagecoach came together to tackle the UK’s transport challenges by working together on a mobility credits project, wherien residents are given “credits” to spend on sustainable travel, in return for scrapping an older and heavily polluting car and saw the founding of the Urban Mobility Partnership. The widely praised 2021 Mobility Credits pilot in Coventry, part of the region’s Future Transport Zone initiative, highlighted the success of multi-modal and cross-modal collaboration and included other operators from across the region.

As in any sector, operators and mobility providers in the transport space often work in siloes. However, when tackling issues such as air pollution and congestion, the solutions cannot be confined to one specific mode and require a holistic approach to ensure real transformative change. Since launching, UMP’s membership has expanded to encompass the biggest names in transport and mobility, consisting of Enterprise Mobility, Stagecoach, Conduent, Foot Anstey, Brompton Bike Hire, Trainline, Liftango, Mobilleo, Motability Operations and Dott. Today, UMP’s members continue to work in partnership driven by their shared vision for an effective multi-modal, integrated transport system, which places the needs of the consumer at its heart. This approach has established UMP as a policy and thought leader within this space and provides a collaborative forum to develop practical and forward-thinking policy asks to support a modal shift and encourage technological innovation, to benefit the consumer, local authorities, private operators, and national Government. The group draws upon its members’ expertise from across the mobility sector and ‘on the ground’ knowledge to develop effective and sustainble multi-modal transport policy and solutions. 

Central to UMP’s work is engagement and policy development at a local and regional level. Improving local transport is crucial to ensuring more efficent services that encourage a multi-modal shift away from single occupancy car use. Local transport services are also crucial to delivering the government’s levelling up agenda and building better connectivity for urban transport systems which may be less connected than major cities like London. In order to deliver sustainable and localised transport iniatives, UMP is committed to working at a local and regional level, engaging closely with key stakeholders such as city councils, combined authorities, metro mayors, chamber of commerces, and local businesses. Working with local authorites is essential to understanding current local transport barries and recognising transport solutions must be tailored to regional needs. We have hosted  a number of workshop and roundtable events across the country to work with local authorities directly on sustainable transport systems and solutions – most recently, we were pleased to host a roundtable with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority to discuss their Local Transport Plan. 

Furthermore, UMP regularly engages with government at a national level to ensure sustainable and innovative transport are high on the political agenda and that necessary government guidance is provided. In particular, UMP has been at the forefront of policy development around Mobility as a Service (MaaS) in the UK. MaaS is the integration of transport services into a single mobility service, which is accessible on demand, allowing the consumer to plan, book and pay for a multi-modal transport journey in one app. UMP’s members are key providers in Europe’s largest MaaS trial, collaborating with the Highlands and Islands region in Scotland on the award-winning Go-Hi app to deliver technology-driven and accessible multi-modal solutions in a rural area. UMP was also delighted to support the Department for Transport in its launch of the Mobility as a Service (MaaS) code of practice this year, following our own Mobility as a Service: Practice Guide whitepaper, which we published in 2021. 

The next year is set to providing further exciting opportunities, as UMP continues to expand its reach and membership. Specifically, UMP is looking forward to building on existing policy asks and developing new, innovative policies, based on members’ experiences and solutions to the current challenges facing the transport sector, which will all form our upcoming general election manifesto. The future of mobility is not just about transport: it’s also about sustainable, effective and accessible urban planning and place-making. As we approach a general election, where much of the conversation will focus on housebuilding, it is imperative that sustainable mobility and urban planning is taken into consideration too. We look forward to continuing our work with local and national Government on important policy initiative, so we can ensure an effective, sustainable, and crucially, multi-modal future of mobility for all. 

Image of James Lancaster courtesy of UMP

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