Urban population will double by 2050 and as cities grow, so will urban transportation; congestion will increase which will have a huge impact on other factors like environment and commuting time. Cities are full of cars, buses, trams, trains and pedestrians and therefore cities need to make transport mobility smarter, reliable, green and more efficient.
Mobility underpins everything we do as individuals, people need to move around to secure basic human needs. It is one of the most intractable challenges faced by Scottish government but the adoption of smart solutions can help to improve efficiency of the system and redistribute demand across routes and time. Technologies and services like smart parking, smart ticketing, real time journey planner, command and control centre, bike and car sharing enable smarter mobility and they benefit travellers, service producers and urban planners.
The growing demand for smart mobility solutions will address the congestion problem which currently costs the UK economy £15.3 billion per year in loss of production.
With over 53% of the world’s population now living in urban areas, mobility has become the number one issue for cities. Finding a solution to this challenge requires the combined expertise of transport, energy and ICT industries.
Scotland is renowned as a world leader in each of these sectors and is well placed to become the global location of choice for the demonstration of Smart Mobility products, services and business models.
Switched on Scotland:
Scottish businesses hoping to reduce their emissions will now be able to apply for up to £100,000 to switch their transport fleet to electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles, under a new Scottish government loan scheme. The Energy Saving Trust, which has secured funding from the Scottish government’s Transport Scotland agency, has set aside £2.5m to encourage drivers to move from diesel and petrol vehicles to cleaner alternatives.
As part of the government’s “Switched-on Scotland” initiative, businesses will be able to apply for up to £100,000 while personal loans of £50,000 can also be taken out, covering the entire cost of most electric vehicles. Funding will be provided interest-free and can be repaid over a period of up to six years, allowing businesses to make repayments using the money saved from fuel costs.
Encouraging mass changeover to electric vehicles, from more polluting ones running on petrol or diesel, is a key to cleaner road transport in Scotland and a fundamental factor in achieving our ambitious climate change targets while also improving local air quality. Scotland is seeing an increasing amount of interest in electric cars as the technology develops and the charging infrastructure continues to grow across Scotland. The loan fund from Transport Scotland will help people to turn that interest into action and benefit from the long-term cost savings that electric cars offer. They also help to reduce local air and noise pollution, contributing towards a greener, healthier Scotland
Improving Air Quality and Reducing Emissions:
The Supreme Court ruled in April that the UK government had to submit new plans setting out how it intended to comply with limits on nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in outdoor air, as established by the EU’s Air Quality Directive, as soon as possible after the general election. In a new consultation, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has asked local authorities with particular pollution problems to consider implementing ‘Clear Air Zones’, introducing low emission buses and taxis and upgrading cycling infrastructure.
Defra has also published individual air quality zone plans for the 38 ‘zones’ that exceeded the maximum annual limit for NO2 in 2013, along with a draft UK overview.
The Scottish Government is consulting separately on the implementation of the UK plan and the zone plans applicable to Edinburgh, Glasgow, central Scotland and north east Scotland. Clean air is vital to our health and our environment and for making sure our cities are attractive places for people to live and work. Tackling air pollution is a priority for Scotland.