Could Scotland be set for European-style mobility hubs?
New transport plans could be trialled in Scotland to encourage a green recovery from the ravages of Covid.
A charity is working with the Scottish Government on proposals for European-style mobility hubs that bring various forms of transportation together in one place.
They are common in Germany and Austria and other countries on the continent and have been hailed as a way of revitalising city centres.
Backers say the project can build on the trend sparked by the coronavirus pandemic for people staying and working more locally, reducing the need to travel unsustainably and re-energising towns to help local businesses recover.
Hubs bring together public transport stops for buses, trams and trains with bike share schemes, car clubs, e-scooters, electric vehicle charging points, bike racks and shared taxi rides, as well as community facilities such as cafés, fitness areas, green space, package collection points and wifi and phone charging – all with covered waiting areas, real-time journey planning information, walking areas and disabled access.
The hubs contribute to the goal of ‘20 minute neighbourhoods’ which enable people to live, learn, and meet their needs within a 20 minute walk of their home.
The model has been identified as a strategic priority in a report for the Scottish Government.
Shared transport charity Collaborative Mobility UK (CoMoUK) will work with the Scottish Government on guidance and framework as part of the second Strategic Transport Projects Review.
The charity says the benefits of mobility hubs include less congestion and a greener environment - they reduce the dominance of the private car and associated problems of congestion, carbon emissions, air quality and social exclusion.
They also promote convenience and choice, with the possibility of seamless switches and improved links between different layers of transport and will create an improved public transport network.
Lorna Finlayson, Scotland director of CoMoUK, said: “There have never been so many pressing reasons why we need to rethink how we move and allocate street space to travel - from addressing air quality problems, decarbonisation of the transport sector, supporting the active travel agenda, decongesting and revitalising city centres and helping local businesses.”
She said the Covid pandemic has changed the way we move around, and it’s vital that as we recover we properly manage space for public transport and shared mobility modes as an alternative to private cars.
Finlayson added: “Public transport is the original shared mode, however the lines between public and shared transport are blurring – there are many new shared modes from bike share schemes to car clubs which are changing behaviour and user needs.
“We look forward to working with the Scottish Government to introduce mobility hubs here and learn from our European neighbours how to transform the way we get around our cities.”