Re-thinking how we get around
Earlier this Summer, the Urban Mobility Partnership – a coalition of sustainable transport providers – hosted its inaugural summit in Birmingham, to discuss how to incentivise a modal shift towards public transport, micromobility and multi-modal options
The Urban Mobility Partnership Summit, which will now be held as an annual event, brought together leading stakeholders in the transport space to discuss the future of mobility.
Key-note speeches and panel discussions explored key mobility issues and highlighted some of the challenges currently facing the transport sector, and how the public and private sector can work together to overcome these.
Underpinning the whole day was a focus on how to incentivise a modal shift towards public transport, micromobility and multi-modal options, and away from private car usage and ownership. Over 130 delegates took the opportunity to discuss the key issues facing urban centres and the importance of collaborative working whilst hearing from industry leaders.
James Bullen, project lead for Mobility as a Service at Transport for West Midlands, opened the day by giving a presentation on the significant benefits of MaaS delivery in the West Midlands. Specifically, James spoke about the new TfWM travel app, a region-wide travel app which gives everybody access to all transport modes in one place for the first time, where users can plan journeys, access live travel information and book and pay for all local transport solutions, including public transport and micromobility options.
UMP and its members have been delighted to work alongside Transport for West Midlands on the development of their MaaS programme and hopefully supporting them in delivering a cost-effective, convenient and sustainable option which places the consumer at the heart of the solution. This app, a piece of pioneering MaaS technology, is the perfect example of the private and public sectors coming together in the thinking, decision making and planning of a project, and shows the huge potential for future transport planning when working together.
Future of mobility
The day concluded with a flagship panel on the vision for the future of mobility in the UK. Ryan Johnson, managing director of Enterprise (UK & Ireland); Mark Corbin, director of Network Resilience at Transport for West Midlands; and Sonya Byers, CEO of Women in Transport all joined the panel discussion on wider issues facing the mobility sector. This panel discussed some of the important elements that will make delivering some of the day’s policy initiatives and discussions a reality.
In particular, the need for policy makers and the sector to focus diversity, accessibility and skills to ensure that not only are our decarbonisation objectives achieved but they are delivered in a just way and to meet the needs of all consumers.
Moving away from car ownership
To meet Government decarbonisation and net zero targets, there needs to be a greater focus on multi-modal transport and a move away from private car usage and ownership. However, to support this, an effective and skilled workforce is required, which must encourage greater diversity and accessibility in the transport space. The sector must also work hard to retain talent to ensure that the best and brightest are being attracted to the sector. If the future of urban transport systems is to embrace the need for technology, data and the complexities of integrating new and existing modes of transport into the physical realm, then then the requisite workforce is required to deliver that.
UMP was pleased to hold the event in Digbeth, an area of transport and urban regeneration in Birmingham and to highlight the importance of transport in economic productivity and to urban regeneration projects. Many of the delegates were from local industry and organisations to the area, with guests attending from West Midlands Combined Authority, Transport for West Midlands and Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.
A private fringe session took place before the Summit, where delegates from TfWM brought together representatives from local authorities to look specifically at mobility hubs and what local authorities can do to ensure they are implemented effectively.
Mobility hubs have the potential to be a key feature of urban regeneration not just in terms of delivering transport options that consumers need and desire but by also being community spaces, integrating cafés and other social spaces into the transport network to boost local economies and businesses.
National government, specifically representatives from Department for Transport, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, and the Ministry of Defence also joined for the Summit, to highlight some of the Government priorities for the transport and environmental sectors. UMP was also delighted to welcome stakeholders from the NHS, to join up vital conversations between transport and health planning, and to examine how public sector workforces – such as NHS staff and patients – could use sustainable and multi-modal transport as part of their commute and to travel around whilst serving local communities.
Additionally, industry representatives from a wide range of mobility, technology and transport sectors joined for the day. After the panel sessions, there was an Enterprise-sponsored drinks reception, where public and private sector representatives had the opportunity to network and lead conversations on several of the topics discussed. A significant achievement of the day was bringing together all the attendees, across the private and public space, to lead on important conversations on transport policy, and to create meaningful partnerships for future collaborative thinking.
The Urban Mobility Partnership was founded in 2017, by founding members Enterprise and Stagecoach. Since then, the Partnership has grown year-on-year, with current members, Foot Anstey, Dott, Brompton, Trainline and Conduent, representing the breadth of sustainable, innovative and multi-modal transport. For too long, thinking and policy making in the transport space has been separate, with little collaborative approach. However, when UMP was founded, the partnership had the key mission to bring together all the stakeholders from across the sector for thinking and policy development.
The UMP Summit 2023 represented a successful culmination of the past six years’ work and featured a different kind of transport conference that delivered on the collaborative approach and addressed the need to avoid siloed thinking and competing interests. It showcased joined up thinking across the transport and mobility space, and collaborative approaches to many of the key challenges facing the future of transport today.
UMP looks forward to continuing these discussions with the whole mobility sector, and will continue its work with policy makers, stakeholders and industry leaders, in providing long-term leadership and solutions to improve the future of urban mobility.
UMP thanks all of its members and all of those who attended the UMP Summit 2023, and will look forward to hosting the second Summit in 2024.