At the beginning of COVID lockdown, the UK Government announced its intention to invest £2billion in sustainable transport infrastructure: targeted mainly on pedestrians and cyclists; however, the Department for Transport passed legislation earlier this year to accelerate the deployment of e-scooter trials cross the UK to assist with the re-opening of the economy and transport systems as the country starts to emerge from lockdown.

Transport for West Midlands has appointed Voi Technologies a Swedish tech company to operate its year long e-scooter trial, which was launched 10th September 2020 by the Mayor of West Midlands, Andy Street:

“The West Midlands is proud to be leading the way on future transport development, and it is great to be able to partner with Voi and reveal our plans for e-scooters across the region…

…E-scooters unquestionably offer a healthier, more environmentally friendly, alternative to the car for shorter journeys around our towns and cities, which will in turn help to ease traffic congestion and tackle air pollution.”

Over the past 18 months, it feels as though e-scooters have taken over many of the world’s cities. Scooter share firms have now staked claims in more than 100 cities worldwide!

Support for the scheme is also echoed by Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and the Environment, Cllr Waseem Zaffar, who said:

“I hope the people of Birmimgham will embrace this new environmentally-friendly way of getting around our city”

Whilst the new gleaming areas of the city centre around Centenary Square, Victoria Square, the length of New Street and the Bullring are all relatively friendly e-scooter environments; areas such as Colmore Row and the surrounding Business District, when forced to mingle with moving traffic, is a more precarious proposition; the UK road safety council is still worried about a growing number of injuries for e-scooter users and pedestrians.

Birmimgham City Centre has relatively poor cycle infrastructure and for the scheme to really take off and induce a meaningful modal shift away from car use, in lieu of public transport, more cycle/e-scooter lanes will need to be delivered; in addition incentives for property developers will need to brought into Policy to embrace how e-scooter parking can be designed into emerging development schemes in and around the city centre. Director David Frisby:

“So the real challenge for Birmingham City Council, Transport for West Midlands and The Mayor will be to “accelerate” the delivery of more cycle & e-scooter friendly infrastructure, environments and “pop up” lanes and to deliver them quickly!”

mode transport planning will keep a close eye on Transport for West Midlands continued assessment of e-scooters as well as the design impacts on our footways, cycle routes and public spaces; we are sure that there will be many creative ideas and exciting changes that will manifest through the impacts of this exciting addition to our streets post COVID-19 lockdown.