Scotland is set to introduce European-style ‘mobility hubs’ that bring various forms of transport together in one place.
The model has been identified as a strategic priority in a report for the Scottish Government.
Mobility hubs are particularly common in Germany and Austria and other countries on the continent as a way of revitalising city centres.
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.
But there is no ‘one-size fits all’ design, and tailor-made solutions are needed for each location using experience from other countries.
As a result, 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 (STPR2).
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.
- Convenience and choice – the option of multi-modal trips with the possibility of seamless switches and improved links between different layers of transport.
- Improved public transport network – plugging the gaps to deliver ‘first or last mile’ connection to nearest bus or railway services.
- Safety and better accessibility – mobility hubs offer a safer and more comfortable dwell time which will lead to improved access for more vulnerable users.
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.
“The coronavirus 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.
“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.”