A range of incentives could be offered
Scotland’s councils have been urged to introduce incentives for people who give up private vehicles as a way of increasing the use of shared transport.
Collaborative Mobility UK (CoMoUK), the country’s national shared transport charity, said people could be offered “mobility credits” for choosing alternative modes of travel like car clubs and bike hire schemes.
In a manifesto for Scottish local authorities ahead of May’s local government elections, CoMoUK said councils must do more to support shared transport schemes to help Scotland meet climate change targets and improve the nation’s health.
It said shared transport can contribute directly to cleaner air and better health as car club vehicles emit 37% less CO2 than the average UK car.
The charity also said bike hire schemes have positive impacts on both physical and mental health, with half of Scottish bike share users saying it had contributed to them reaching the recommended 2.5 hours or more of physical activity per week.
But despite these benefits, CoMoUK warned shared transport remains frequently under-represented in Scottish local authorities' transport strategies and delivery plans.
It said councils should do more to ensure the full benefits of sustainable transport are achieved. Rachael Murphy, CoMoUK Scotland director, said: “Shared transport schemes are already doing heavy lifting on decarbonisation, but can go much further with greater support and should be employed right across Scotland.
“They provide an alternative to car ownership, and, together with public and active transport, shared transport reduces greenhouse gas emissions, poor air quality and congestion.
“The local government elections in May present an opportunity for shared transport to be built into the future travel policies of every local authority in Scotland.
“Currently, shared transport remains underrepresented in the transport strategies and delivery plans of Scottish local authorities.
“We believe further support is needed if the full benefits that sustainable transport can offer are to be achieved.”
The charity is calling for 12 key actions, including investing a percentage of revenue made from low emission zones and any Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) schemes in shared transport.
It wants new housing developments and council infrastructure to include bike sharing, car clubs and mobility hubs to reduce reliance on privately-owned vehicles and said councils should show “best practice” by using pool vehicles for car sharing.
In new developments, CoMoUK has said parking provision should be limited to one private car per property or less, with clear alternatives for residents including bike and car share schemes being made available.
The charity called for local authorities to prioritise at least 5% of spaces in council car parks with over 30 spaces for shared vehicle use, and to establish shared transport policies with key indicators to measure progress and goals for reducing individual vehicle ownership.
It also said shared transport modes should be made an integral part of low emission zone plans due to the contribution they make to clean air.
And CoMoUK encouraged councils to support the development of mobility hubs to coordinate shared, public, and active travel networks.