Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and the University of Warwick have launched a two-year trial to look at the effectiveness of e-scooters, a demand responsive bus service and a car club in shifting travel behaviour away from private car use.
The trial, called the Future Transport Showcase, is being set up using Smart Transport member TfWM's award of £22 million in funding from the Department for Transport for a Future Transport Zone across the West Midlands.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “The Future Transport Showcase at the University of Warwick will offer students and staff more flexibility, choice, and greener travel solutions for the region, at a time when we are facing a climate emergency and urging people to leave the car at home.
“And this trial will show what works as we develop transport policies to address the climate emergency we all face.”
E-scooter operator Voi Technology will be bringing its e-scooters to the University campus before they are rolled out to cover a wider area, as part of a pilot research project to help inform Government e-scooter legislation in the UK and research into micro-mobility.
Smart Transport member Enterprise is also taking part in the Future Transport Showcase. Staff, students and the local community will be able to access two of its low emission Hyundai Ioniq cars, which can be booked for anything from half an hour to a full day.
As well as the two car club vehicles, members can use any of the car club’s 1,400 vehicles around the UK and access the wide range of vehicles from Enterprise’s daily rental fleet.
Gary Palmer, general manager of Enterprise for the West Midlands, said: “Being close to where people need to use vehicles means our car club can operate very efficiently, bringing lower emission mobility to the heart of the community and helping reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality."
He added that as a result of Covid-19, the vehicles will have been through an enhanced series of cleaning and hygiene measures to "bring reassurance to renters".
The Future Transport Showcase will also see a demand responsive bus service being introduced later in the year, which should make it easier for the local community, staff and students to use public transport where a traditional bus service may not be appropriate.
Throughout the two-year trial, participants will be encouraged to change their transport choices and incentives offered for people who choose greener travel as part of the “choose your way Warwick” campaign hosted on the Betterpoints App.
TfWM said that the results of the trial will help to determine the best solutions for residents to reduce their carbon footprint and help them make more informed and environmentally-friendly transport choices while contributing towards achieving the region's 2041 net zero carbon ambitions.