Smart transport, as a fundamental aspect of smart cities, has in the previous year rapidly developed on a global scale. With innovations ranging from electric bus fleets in China, to integrated and automated ticketing systems in Europe’s metro system, smart transport is getting smarter.
Partly, this is because the benefits of smart transport are numerous. Improved commute times for cities and regions, reduced environmental impacts such as pollution, heightened quality of life for citizens, better integration of city systems, and much higher sustainability represent just a few of the said benefits.
Partly, this is also because of the development of transport themselves, which seek to address problems in mobility. While this takes many forms and varies between smart cities themselves, the importance of the transport itself must be of value before it can contribute to any further improvements on a city-wide scale.
Consequently, in recent years there has been an increase in developing policy to support new transport as well as calls for funds and proposals. One such recent fund, based in the UK, focuses on helping companies to invest in cargo bikes.
So, what actually are Cargo bikes? They are electric bikes with increased storage capabilities. Essentially, they allow the rider all of the benefits of an electric bike but with the added availability of much more space than a regular bike or small delivery vehicle.
Using cargo bikes is argued by the UK Department of Transport as a great opportunity to improve local transport. They explain that the bikes can fulfil last-minute deliveries (that may be too large for regular transport, or too small to warrant hiring a van or lorry), which will help to reduce congestion, pollution, and the number of people who rely on privately-owned vehicles.
The Department encourage companies to apply for the grant fund which is currently live and available to limited companies, sole traders, partnerships, charities and not-for-profit organisations operating across England. Applications for funding will be assessed on a first come, first served basis. Jesse Norman, the Department for Transport’s Cycling and Walking Minister, commented that “this new fund for ecargo bikes will help to cut congestion, improve air quality and encourage companies to play their part in creating a cleaner, greener future. Supporting more sustainable deliveries is just one of the positive steps this government is taking towards a zero-emission world”.