The UK’s first accredited ‘mobility hub’ has been unveiled in London today, bringing together sustainable transport options with community facilities.
The site in South Woodford, Redbridge, reclaims an on-street car parking space with a design aimed at connecting the area and helping the environment.
Mobility hubs are already common in Germany and Austria and build on the trend sparked by the coronavirus pandemic for people staying and working more locally, reducing the need to travel unsustainably while helping local businesses to recover.
The Redbridge mini hub is the first in the UK to meet the standards set by national shared transport charity shared transport charity Collaborative Mobility UK (CoMoUK), working in collaboration with the London Borough of Redbridge, EB Charging, Ubeeqo and Meristem Design.
Plans are underway for more hubs across the UK, brought forward by a range of organisations, including local authorities, community groups, housing developers and train operating companies.
The Scottish Government has also identified them as a strategic transport priority for the future.
While there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach, the hub concept brings together public transport with shared transport options, such as bike share schemes and car clubs, together with walking and cycling provision and urban realm improvement.
This can potentially be alongside community facilities such as cafés, fitness areas, green space, package collection points and wifi and phone charging, with features such as covered waiting areas, real-time journey planning information, walking areas and disabled access.
In the South Woodford hub, there is an electric car club bay, a community-led café, and an outdoor seating area with bar stools and coffee tables, trees and plants, designed by Meristem Design. It includes a fast EV charger from EB Charging and space for an EV car from car club Ubeeqo.
Ubeeqo, Europcar Mobility Group’s car sharing brand, is bringing low emissions motoring to the streets of Redbridge with two Renault ZOE electric cars available from the new mobility hub.
The hub provides wider transport connections through the local Underground station and bus stops being a few metres from the hub.
Cllr Jo Blackman, London Borough of Redbridge Cabinet Member for Environment and Civic Pride, said:
“We’re delighted that our mobility hub in South Woodford is the first to receive accreditation in the UK from CoMoUK.
“We’re keen to promote active travel in Redbridge, as well as supporting the transition from diesel/petrol to electric vehicles, and providing more street space for residents and local businesses.
“Our mobility hub provides a perfect way to combine these aims and we’re hoping to deliver more across the borough in the coming months.”
Richard Dilks, chief executive of CoMoUK, said:
“As we recover from the pandemic, we must ensure we build in the sustainable transport options we need in a way that makes them easy and attractive for people to use, building in alternatives to car ownership.
“Mobility hubs are increasingly popular worldwide and it’s time for the UK to embrace this idea to improve air quality, decarbonise the transport sector, support more active travel, and revitalise town centres for local communities.
“We are encouraged that local authorities and housing developers are actively considering mobility hubs.
“We’re delighted to formally accredit our first hub here in Redbridge, and hope this sets a trend that will be adopted right across the UK.”
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.
Ron Santiago, managing director, Europcar Mobility Group UK, said:
“Ubeeqo’s support of this CoMoUK-led project underlines Europcar Mobility Group’s commitment to supporting central and local government in their goals to reduce congestion and emissions.
“Ubeeqo gives organisations and private motorists the opportunity to drive greener.
“Not only does it mean they don’t need to own their own vehicle; but they can cut their emissions too.”
Dan O’Hara, CEO at EB Charging, added:
“We’re excited to be working with Redbridge and Ubeeqo to create this new EV mobility hub that includes our sustainable fast charger, delivering 100% green energy.
“It’s a real privilege to provide easy EV charging for this pioneering project that gives access to everyone in the community, including local residents who may not otherwise have the opportunity to drive an EV.”
Habib Khan, director of Meristem Design, said:
“Meristem Design are delighted to have worked with Redbridge Council to design and build the UK’s first accredited mobility hub.
“We have designed and installed over 100 on-street Parklets this year alone, moving forward we will encourage our council clients to incorporate more features of the Mobility Hub and for the units to be accredited by CoMoUK.”