How many transport conferences include a ride on a hovercraft?
This was one of many highlights from the recent Future Transport Forum hosted by Solent Transport in Portsmouth. Despite having to be delayed from the previous year, the event remained a timely discussion on how we can expand access to more transport choices while also ensuring the sector is on a robust path to decarbonisation.
As the name suggests, a key focus of the event was on the Future Transport Zones set up by the UK Government just before the pandemic changed if and how we travel. Insights on the Solent Future Transport Zone were particularly highlights, including how they have been able to expand transport choice through embracing new modes such as shared e-scooters and e-bikes, and bringing together all transport services in the region under a common “Mobility as a Service” app, amongst the first of its kind in the UK.
Chaired by the passionate Phillip Darnton OBE (Executive Chairman, Bicycle Association of Great Britain, and Solent Future Transport Zone board member), attendees heard from a range of speakers, including our own Fiona Jenkins who spoke on all things sustainable freight, as well as Matthew Clark who hosted a panel on shared mobility. We heard how demand has increased, fleets have diversified (to include e-cargo bikes and e-mopeds), but to build on these positive trends, the government needs to legislate to legalise e-scooters, effective management of parking needs to be agreed upon, and strong political will is needed for implementation, including removing car parking.
There was also an interesting discussion on how the language of transport funding needs to change. For example, we “invest” in roads, but we “subsidise” public transport. A strategic shift to the word “investment” was recommended to encourage and align with desired outcomes such as reduced carbon emissions and more active populations.
Hosted at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, those attending over the two day event were also able to enjoy lunch provided by Steer as well as evening drinks in the stunning Victory Gallery featuring ornate figureheads from historic ships. This gave our team and all others the opportunity to network with attendees from across the public, private, and non-profit sectors, with the common thread that we all wanted to see the region succeed.
Steer looks forward to being involved in future events and seeing how the region will continue to benefit from its focus on new mobility and transport innovation.
View Fiona’s presentation below.