Future mobility – sustainable, social value-adding and supporting SMEs

Tottie Faragher, Senior Media & External Affairs Manager
13 November 2019
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In a wide-ranging paper produced today by Amey Investments, part of Amey plc, the business highlights how the UK’s mobility sector could and should be. Key challenges are highlighted, and actions proposed if the UK is to develop an enriched mobility sector that works sustainably, delivers social value and supports SMEs including social enterprises.

Mobility is a wide sector, embracing Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure, Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs), Mobility as a Service, electric vehicle technology and integrated transport systems. Technology-rich, data-driven and fast-paced, the sector is set to transform all our lives. Yet, there are challenges that could potentially thwart progress.

According to Amey, there is a lack of joined up public policy from central Government despite rapid progress in the technologies underpinning mobility. There is uncertainty in the private sector about its role in investing in mobility. The potential of mobility technologies to exclude people who are less affluent, or technology-savvy must not be ignored. Innovators including SMEs need to be able to trial technologies in a safe environment and the UK needs people with the right skills, knowledge and expertise to deliver a mobility-enabled UK.

Commenting, Asif Ghafoor, Managing Director, Amey Investments, said: “We are at the cusp of a new era in public mobility infrastructure. The challenges ahead are daunting but the potential for good infrastructure to tackle the climate emergency, create social value and support technology-rich SMEs and social enterprises has never been greater. No one has all the answers, so the public and private sectors need to work together to solve the big challenges posed by 21st century mobility needs.”

Amongst several proposed actions, Amey Investments calls for:

  • Clear public policy on mobility from central government but with local and city authorities allowed to shape their mobility strategies according to their own cities’ and towns’ needs
  • Clear revenue models for investors to be developed that also work for local authorities
  • Commitment by decision-makers that any technology-rich infrastructure must not exclude people from society based on their location, income, age or physical or mental abilities
  • Acknowledgement of the significant value that mobility data holds and therefore the need to protect it and make it available on a commercial basis only
  • Commitment in the private sector to attract and retain the people with the skills and ideas to maintain the mobility revolution.

Continuing, Asif said: “The reward to us as individuals, to businesses, to people delivering public services and to all of society for getting a data and technology-driven mobility sector working well is immense. All of us want less congested towns and cities, clean, healthy air and more sustainable means of getting about.  All this is within our grasp, yet we risk it all if action isn’t taken now to tackle head on the pressing challenges faced.”

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