Future of Transport Regulatory Review: Call for Evidence

Closes 3 Jul 2020

Consultation Contents

The call for evidence is split into five main parts. 

Once you complete any section, you will automatically return to this contents page, where you can either select a new section or save and submit your response. 

You are welcome to provide feedback on as many questions as are relevant to your areas of interest or expertise.

Transport is changing

Amid rapid social and economic change, innovations in technology and business models are transforming how people and goods move around. Vast investments are being made globally in these new mobility concepts, to unlock new opportunities and meet demands for safer, cleaner and more convenient travel.

Multiple changes in transport are happening at once, including:

  • Changes in transport technology, such as the growing availability of transport data, advances in machine learning, increasing levels of automation, the development of new modes, and the transition to cleaner, more efficient vehicles and systems;
  • Changes in demand for transport, in the context of our increasingly diverse and ageing population, the importance of accessible transport, evolving work arrangements and commuting patterns, and the increasing use of smartphones for travel purposes; and
  • Changes in mobility business models, as new digitally enabled business models emerge and shared mobility becomes more prevalent.

Properly harnessed, these changes could dramatically influence people's relationship with vehicles, transform our transport networks and stimulate productivity. They could help us decarbonise transport and tackle congestion and air pollution, make travel more affordable and convenient, and improve access to transport for older people and those with disabilities. Fundamentally, such innovations could allow us to live in cleaner, quieter, more inclusive and more prosperous communities.

New mobility on the path to net zero

The extraordinary wave of changes in transport creates an opportunity to support the UK's ambitions for decarbonisation and net zero emissions. As new technologies develop that encourage active travel, mass transit, zero emission vehicles and more integrated and efficient use of the transport network, we want to ensure the regulatory framework for transport optimises the benefits of accelerated transport decarbonisation for society and the environment.

As announced in October 2019, the Government's Transport Decarbonisation Plan will set out a credible and ambitious plan for the UK to ensure transport achieves ‘net zero’ GHG by 2050 and delivers its contribution to interim carbon budgets. Future transport is a central consideration to this plan, which recognises the industrial opportunities of an innovation and clean technology led approach to decarbonisation.

 

History has shown how quickly technological change can happen; just a decade ago ride-hailing apps were unheard of, for example. Today, many of the companies behind them are global businesses with hundreds of millions of users around the world.

The streets, skies and seas of tomorrow will look very different, with a range of different automated, connected and electric vehicle services transporting people, goods and services. Shared mobility could be prevalent, meaning few people own their own vehicle but instead use demand-responsive shared and public transport to get around, made possible through new digitally enabled business models. The valuable data produced through such models will help to inform regulations and transport planning decisions in future.

Consortia are already competing to deploy connected and automated vehicles in real-world services on UK roads within the next few years, and all new cars and vans are currently expected to be effectively zero emission by 2040, with zero emission ships commonplace globally by 2050. With safer and greener streets, skies and seas, a more inclusive transport system and a more productive economy, new transport technologies have the potential to deliver substantial benefits for us.

However, if technological changes are not effectively managed, they could have undesired effects, leading to worse outcomes for society, the environment and the economy. Closer integration of our infrastructure and vehicles with communication networks could lead to increased vulnerability to cyber attacks, and inadequate protection of transport data could threaten the privacy of users. New modes and services could result in increased congestion and reduced sustainable travel. Moreover, if they are not developed with the diverse needs of people in mind (for example, women, older people, or disabled people), or if they only benefit certain geographic or socio-economic areas, existing inequalities in access to transport and opportunity could be exacerbated.

That is why we are acting now to create a fertile environment for innovation and investment, enabled by a clear, principles-based approach from Government, investment in the Future Transport Zones, and a flexible, yet robust regulatory framework based on data and evidence. The window of opportunity to shape these changes is currently open but will not stay open forever.

Future Transport Zones

£90m of capital funding has been allocated to create our Future Transport Zones (FTZs). Each FTZ will be a globally significant demonstrator of new mobility services, modes and models, creating a functioning marketplace for mobility, combining new and traditional modes of transport. The FTZs will focus on trialling transport innovations and providing evidence of their efficacy to inform the development of, and investment in, future schemes. The FTZs will be at a scale that is appropriate for testing regulatory issues to support the work of the Future of Transport Regulatory Review.

 

A principles-based approach

 

In the Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy, published in March 2019, we set out a clear, proactive approach to making the most of the opportunities from transport innovation and mitigating the potential risks. We outlined a set of nine Principles that will underpin our decision-making, and help guide innovators and local authorities as emerging transport technologies and services develop:

In facilitating innovation in urban mobility for freight, passengers and services, the Government's approach will be underpinned as far as possible by the following Principles:

  1. New modes of transport and new mobility services must be safe and secure by design.
  2. The benefits of innovation in mobility must be available to all parts of the UK and all segments of society.
  3. Walking, cycling and active travel must remain the best options for short urban journeys.
  4. Mass transit must remain fundamental to an efficient transport system.
  5. New mobility services must lead the transition to zero emissions.
  6. Mobility innovation must help to reduce congestion through more efficient use of limited road space, for example through sharing rides, increasing occupancy or consolidating freight.
  7. The marketplace for mobility must be open to stimulate innovation and give the best deal to consumers.
  8. New mobility services must be designed to operate as part of an integrated transport system combining public, private and multiple modes for transport users.
  9. Data from new mobility services must be shared where appropriate to improve choice and the operation of the transport system.

 

An innovative and flexible regulatory framework for transport is key to the successful implementation of the nine Principles for shaping the future of transport. A thriving transport sector needs a regulatory framework that ensures safety, network efficiency and promotes decarbonisation, mass transit and active and accessible travel, while providing certainty for investment and the space for invention and trials through which live evidence can be gathered.

 

The Future of Transport Regulatory Review

One of the broadest and most significant of its sort for many years, this review will challenge the status quo, asking fundamental questions about how we regulate transport in the UK. We are undertaking this review to address areas of regulation that are outdated, a barrier to innovation, or not designed with new technologies and business models in mind.

In taking forward the Future of Transport Regulatory Review we are particularly keen to emphasise the following values:

Future of Transport Regulatory Values:

  1. Regulation for innovation and safety: The right regulatory framework can unlock innovation, rather than hamper its development, in a way that manages any potential negative or unintended consequences. 
  2. Regulation built on evidence: Our regulatory framework will support innovation where there is evidence to show it can offer net benefits for society, the environment and the economy, in line with the Principles in the Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy.
  3. Regulation for agility: The pace of technological change means our regulatory framework should be able to respond quickly. Where pilots of transport innovations have demonstrated clear social, environmental and safety benefits, we need to be able to enable their wider roll out.
  4. Regulation for multi-modality: Regulation should make it easier to develop multi-modal transport systems rather than reinforce modal silos.
  5. Regulation with local consent and leadership: We recognise that what is suitable for one region, city or environment will not necessarily be suitable for another. Where local leaders are keen to lead the way in transport innovation, the regulatory system should support them to do so.

 

The UK’s regulatory framework for road, rail, aviation and maritime has developed gradually over the centuries, reflecting evolutions in technology and society. Much of the primary legislation underpinning how we regulate taxis, for example, dates back to the 1800s. Now, as the pace of change accelerates and the lines between different modes and business models blur, new products and ideas are challenging these existing regulatory structures and their scope. 

Through the Regulatory Review, we plan to address these challenges. This call for evidence is just one element of a series of consultations, workshops and events that will inform our thinking as we progress the review. Further details of all the workstreams of the review will be published on GOV.UK in due course. Ultimately the review may conclude that substantive legislative reform is required, for example new primary legislation.

This review builds on information and views gathered through the 'Future of Mobility' call for evidence held in September 2018, where we asked questions about regulatory barriers and opportunities. A summary of responses was published in March 2019.

The scope of the review

The Regulatory Review is an extensive programme of work, encompassing a wide range of transport modes and cross-cutting issues, each with their own existing regulatory context. In choosing our initial priorities for the review we have reflected on the feedback we received and considered areas by their degree of importance and urgency, that is by the scale and proximity of the potential impact if regulatory issues are not addressed.

The review's workstreams are split into three themes: roads, maritime, and aviation, with two cross-cutting themes as shown in Table A below. The themes contain a mix of established regulatory programmes and new areas of focus that were first set out in the Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy in March 2019.

In general, the review will not consider regulations or powers that have been transferred to the Devolved Administrations.

Timescales

This is a once in a generation opportunity to reform regulation in transport, and we expect the review as a whole to take place over three years. Some areas of the review will be completed ahead of that time frame and we will act sooner if needed on our most significant and pressing findings.

A response to this call for evidence and more detail of next steps for the review will be published within three months of the closing date.

Designing innovation friendly regulations

The Government's ‘Regulation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution: White Paper’, identifies two key challenges in maintaining our world-leading regulatory system as the rate of innovation increases:

  • Pacing challenge: the speed of innovation increasingly exceeds the rate at which traditional regulatory systems can adapt;
  • Convergence challenge: innovations are increasingly blurring the lines between sectors that cut across traditional regulatory boundaries.

We see these two challenges with the Future of Transport. Micromobility, flexible bus services and Mobility as a Service cut across traditional transport modal boundaries and have the potential to mature as markets at a rate not seen previously.

Through our Future of Transport Regulatory Values we have aligned the Regulatory Review with the plan set out in the White Paper to build an innovation friendly regulatory system across all sectors.

 

Table A: Review Workstream Themes

Theme

Workstream

Roads

 

Zero emission vehicles

This review is considering how the powers given to Government in the Automated and Electric Vehicles (AEV) Act 2018 should be used. We recently consulted on proposals for electric vehicle smart chargepoint regulations under the Act, including a call for evidence on the transmission of chargepoint data. We will publish the outcome of this consultation in due course.

Self-driving vehicles

This review considers the legal and regulatory framework to enable the safe development and deployment of connected and automated vehicles. The Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) is working with the Law Commission for England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission on proposals for a long-term regulatory framework. CCAV is also working with colleagues in the Department for Transport and its Motoring Agencies on safety and cyber-security assurance, including in support of increasingly advanced trials on public roads.

Micromobility vehicles

This review addresses new vehicles such as electric scooters and micro vehicles for last mile delivery, and how best to trial them. We are also considering the implications of legalising such vehicles for traffic regulation and street design.

Buses, taxis, and private hire vehicles

This review seeks to join up the significant work already being undertaken in this area. It is looking specifically at the legislation covering flexible bus services, with a view to ensuring that dynamic demand responsive bus services can operate at their highest potential.

 Maritime

 

 

Innovation in maritime

This review encompasses work being undertaken by the Department for Transport and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency at a national and international level, both through the International Maritime Organization and with industry partners, focusing on maritime autonomy and zero emission shipping.

Aviation

Drones and future flight

This review is considering the role that new potential air mobility solutions, such as vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) concepts, could play in transforming air mobility and improving regional connectivity. This is alongside the existing regulation programmes for drones and commercial spaceflight and the Civil Aviation Authority’s project to transform the way it engages with innovation in the aviation sector.

Cross-Cutting

Mobility as a Service

This review is considering the regulatory changes that may be necessary to support the integration of different transport modes into a single mobility service, and the case for Government to do more to shape the development of MaaS platforms.

Transport data

This review is considering the role for regulation, or other incentive mechanisms, in the sharing of certain transport data, to support healthy competition, empower consumers and local and national authorities, and enable greater integration of transport modes. This includes data for Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs).

 

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About you (Required)
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Part 2 - Micromobility
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Part 3 - Buses, taxis and private hire vehicles
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Part 4 - Mobility as a Service
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Part 5 - Wider issues
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