William Eichler 16 March 2020

Shapps announces £90m tech fund to make journeys ‘greener’

The Government has launched a multi-million pound fund to trial new technology aimed at making journeys ‘easier, smarter and greener’.

The £90m funding boost, which has been announced alongside a consultation on UK transport laws, will lead to trials of new transport innovation in three new ‘future transport zones’.

The zones will provide testing for experts, allowing them to work with a range of local bodies, such as councils, hospitals, airports and universities, to test innovative ways to transport people and goods.

The three new zones set to receive a share of the funding are in Portsmouth and Southampton, the West of England Combined Authority, and Derby and Nottingham. They will all join the existing West Midlands future of transport zone.

One of the projects tested will see drones carrying medical supplies from clinics on the Isle of Wight to hospitals on the mainland.

The Government will also consult on the use of e-scooters and the effect they may have on UK transport and whether councils should have extra powers to manage the impacts of e-scooters on public space.

‘We are on the cusp of a transport revolution. Emerging technologies are ripping up the rulebook and changing the way people and goods move forever,’ said transport secretary Grant Shapps.

‘Our groundbreaking future of transport programme marks the biggest review of transport laws in a generation and will pave the way for exciting new transport technology to be tested, cementing the UK’s position as a world-leading innovator.

‘This review will ensure we understand the potential impacts of a wide range of new transport modes such as e-scooters, helping to properly inform any decisions on legalisation.

‘Funding these new zones across the country will also help us safely test innovative ways to get around, creating a greener future transport system for us all.’

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