Scotland is set to introduce European-style mobility hubs, which bring various forms of transport together in one place, after a review identified them as a ‘strategic priority’ for transport.
Mobility hubs are particularly common in Germany and Austria and other countries on the continent as a way of revitalising city centres.
Greater Manchester is also planning to introduce mobility hubs this summer as part of the eHUBS project.
It is hoped that the project in Scotland will build on the trend brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic for people to stay and work more locally, reducing the need to travel unsustainably and re-energising towns to help local businesses recover.
Hubs bring together public transport stops for buses, trams and trains with bike share schemes, car clubs, e-scooters, electric vehicle charging points, bike racks and shared taxi rides, as well as community facilities such as cafés, fitness areas, green space, package collection points and wifi and phone charging – all with covered waiting areas, real-time journey planning information, walking areas and disabled access.
The hubs contribute to Transport Scotland’s goal of ‘20-minute neighbourhoods’, which enable people to 'live, learn, and meet their needs within a 20-minute walk of their home'.
But there is no ‘one-size fits all’ design, and tailor-made solutions are needed for each location using experience from other countries.
As a result, shared transport charity Collaborative Mobility UK (CoMoUK) will work with the Scottish Government on guidance and framework as part of the second Strategic Transport Projects Review.
Lorna Finlayson, Scotland director of CoMoUK, said: “There have never been so many pressing reasons why we need to rethink how we move and allocate street space to travel - from addressing air quality problems, decarbonisation of the transport sector, supporting the active travel agenda, decongesting and revitalising city centres and helping local businesses.
“The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we move around, and it’s vital that as we recover we properly manage space for public transport and shared mobility modes as an alternative to private cars.
“Public transport is the original shared mode, however the lines between public and shared transport are blurring – there are many new shared modes from bike share schemes to car clubs which are changing behaviour and user needs.
“We look forward to working with the Scottish Government to introduce mobility hubs here and learn from our European neighbours how to transform the way we get around our cities.”
Mobility hub picture: CoMoUK