- The Government of the United Kingdom has kicked off work on its Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, seeking strategies to make the U.K. a world leader in moving people and goods.
- The government released two related "call for evidence" documents — akin to a request for proposals in the United States. One pertains to improving first mile/last mile connections, with a focus on electric vehicles and microtransit, and the other deals more generally with the future of urban mobility, with a focus on emerging trends and transportation changes.
- In addition to improving residents' mobility, the government aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve safety.
In conjunction with the grand challenge launch, the government also provided the equivalent of $15.9 million USD of funding for six projects to develop and test connected and autonomous vehicles.
Leaders launched the challenge and requested solutions because they recognize societal changes in how people travel, brought on by factors like more people working from home, less overall driving, increasing aging populations and more people moving to urban areas. The government already has identified trends that could further shape mobility including cleaner transportation, shared mobility, data and connectivity, automation and changing consumer attitudes.
The information request notes that the government should factor in "consideration of the approach government should take to help cities harness the opportunities and address any challenges presented by these trends." Assisting cities is a notable approach, in light of what a number of global leaders believe is a trend toward cities tackling national and global issues as federal governments pull back from their relationships with cities, especially financially.
These actions continue the U.K. government's ongoing efforts to keep up with transportation changes to improve mobility and the environment. For example, this month it announced a requirement for new homes to be built with electric car chargers as part of a plan for at least half of the country's cars to be low emissions by 2030. The government also will provide $53 million in funding to research and test wireless and on-street charging.