The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, led by Mayor James Palmer, is to become the first region in the country to roll out e-bikes and e-scooters to the public, offering the potential for fast, clean and inexpensive travel that can help to ease congestion on the roads and transport networks, reduce pollution and allow for social distancing.
European e-scooter operator Voi have been appointed on a 12-month trial basis to provide e-bikes across the region and test out e-scooters in the centre of Cambridge where they will be assessed closely for safety and viability in the coming weeks with e-bikes rolled out in the coming weeks.
This announcement follows the one made a few weeks back by the Combined Authority for £2.9 million to improve cycle and pedestrian facilities across the region to get more people walking and cycling. These measures all form part of a broader vision from the Combined Authority for healthy and sustainable travel post Covid.
Electrically assisted bikes provide a safe and healthy alternative mode of travel to the private car, bus or train which enables the user to practice social distancing while also helping to reduce carbon emissions and improve their fitness at the same time.
E-bikes are likely to be placed at rail stations throughout the region as well as Park and Ride sites and potentially at stops along the guided bus way, so they can be relied upon by commuters for significant parts of their journey to work and by others including students and visitors travelling into cities, towns and other areas of interest and leisure Work is currently ongoing to look at the potential level of demand and uptake and where they will have most impact.
E-scooters will allow visitors, tourists, students, and commuters to make quick short journeys across town. It is thought that 60% of current car journeys are only 1-2 miles in length and e-scooters and other modes of active travel could help significantly reduce unnecessary reliance on cars for these short journeys.
E-scooters will be trialled initially in Cambridge on a small scale and their use vigorously tested and monitored to assess how well they are working. Within the first three months of operation, Voi will assess and present recommendations to the Combined Authority on any additional infrastructure requirements for e-scooters and e-bikes, based on user feedback and user journey data, including feedback from disability group associations such as RNIB and Disabilities Move UK.
Mayor James Palmer said: “Electric bikes and scooters have the potential to revolutionise travel and I am delighted that Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will be the first region in the country to make both available to the public so they can enjoy quicker, healthier journeys.”
“This year has seen a 27% drop in carbon emissions and a 200% increase in cycling, with people enjoying soaring air quality and fitter lifestyles, the benefits to moving away from cars and buses are clear and our investment shows we are committed rolling out a fully integrated active travel network for our region.”
Fredrik Hjelm, co-founder and CEO of Voi Technology, said: “We are delighted to announce that Cambridge, the world’s most renowned city for innovation and technology, will be the first city in the UK where people can use a Voi e-scooter and enjoy the benefits of this liberating new form of transport. People are keen to get out of their cars and want greener transport choices. Cities that are serious about cutting pollution and congestion see that this is a huge opportunity to introduce a mode of transport that can radically improve how we get around urban areas.”
As part of the trial, Voi will:
On average, 106 deaths per year in the Greater Cambridge region alone can be attributed to air pollution, with emissions from cars and emissions per capita 50% above the national average in Cambridgeshire. The partnership between Voi and the Combined Authority will aim to reduce CO2 emissions by 400 tonnes across the region by August 2021.
Providing e-bikes and e-scooters will also help to prevent the spread of coronavirus across the region by allowing people to make journeys while remaining socially distanced. In addition, Voi is rolling out Shieldex® Copper-Tape tape on handlebars, designed to kill 99.98% of coronavirus on contact, and all scooters are disinfected every 24 hours. Voi is also providing COVID-19 information and advice in its app.
Find out more at bit.ly/cpcaebikes