PACTS has co-signed an ITS UK Letter to the Prime Minister on the Future of Transport
PACTS, along with several prominent organisations within the UK’s transport sector, has co-signed an open letter coordinated by the ITS UK to the Prime Minister, Mr Rishi Sunak. The emphasis of this letter is the pressing need for a comprehensive Future of Transport Bill in the upcoming Parliamentary session that prioritizes safety across all modes of transport.
Despite initial indications in May 2022 that the UK government was prioritizing transport, with the Queen’s speech emphasizing improved and safer transport services, progress seems to have stalled. Shortly after, Baroness Vere mentioned plans to create a regulatory framework for e-scooters, and there were positive steps towards the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail and the establishment of the Road Safety Investigation Branch (RSIB), a body PACTS had advocated for. However, a year later, there’s no sign of any primary legislation for e-scooter regulations, railway reforms, or road safety improvements. While challenges exist, other countries have managed to implement and adapt e-scooter regulations. Despite the absence of the intended guiding body, Great British Railways, the rail industry continues to strive for improvement.
PACTS urges the Government to prioritize a Transport Bill in the next Parliamentary Session, emphasizing the significant need for progress in the following areas
- Safety in Automation: The UK has seen tremendous growth in automated and connected vehicle technologies. It’s paramount that any legislative framework for self-driving and remote-driving vehicles ensures the safety of all road users. Proposals are being drafted for a comprehensive safety framework to ensure the safe deployment of self-driving vehicles by 2025.
- Smart Ticketing: The Plan for Rail set out how Government investment will radically reform and improve fares and ticketing for passengers. While smart ticketing solutions are largely seen as a convenience feature, they can indirectly impact safety by incentivizing modal shift from road to train, which is much safer.
- Regulations for e-scooters and e-bikes: The safety of emerging micro-mobility modes, such as e-scooters and e-bikes remains crucial. Regulations should consider their safe operation, parking, and interaction with other road users to avoid accidents. The government is working on a unique Low-speed Zero Emission Vehicle (LZEV) category is proposed to ensure e-scooters and e-bikes are regulated differently from traditional cycles and motor vehicles, thereby enhancing safety.
- Mobility as a Service (MaaS): Developing a framework for MaaS ensures an integrated, effective, and, most importantly, safe transport network. This includes well-coordinated connections between different modes of transport to reduce risks. The recently published code of practice for MaaS ensures standards are maintained, covering areas like accessibility, data sharing, and consumer protection, all of which relate to user safety.
Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper, has responded to this letter –
Acknowledging the letter on behalf of the Prime Minister, the Transport Secretary, The Rt Hon Mark Harper MP, has said “The Department strongly agrees that we need to create a regulatory environment for the safe and successful use of these technologies on all parts of the country’s road network”.
PACTS is keen on ensuring the future of transport in the UK remains forward-looking, innovative, safe, and sustainable. We are committed to engaging with relevant authorities and continuing our advocacy for a well-defined legislative framework that catalyses our shared vision for the transport sector. This joint effort underscores PACTS’s cross-modal approach, emphasizing the importance of a holistic view of transport safety, whether on the roads, rails, or pavements. The proposed Future of Transport Bill, with its multi-modal scope, aligns s with PACTS’s mission to improve safety across all transport modes in the UK.