Staffordshire County Council (SCC) and Amey have partnered with electric scooter providers Ginger and Zwings to launch micromobility trials in Stafford and Newcastle-Under-Lyme, as part of the ADEPT Smart Places Live Labs programme.
The Live Labs SIMULATE programme, run by SCC and Amey, is designed to test new innovations that can radically improve mobility and air quality across Staffordshire. Micromobility is seen as a key addition to the future of shared transport services and a means to enable people to connect more easily and sustainably.
The trials with e-scooter providers Ginger and Zwings, form part of the Department for Transport trials that were approved by the Government in July of this year. During this time, SCC and Amey, through the Live Labs SIMULATE programme, have been working in collaboration with Stafford and Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Councils as well as with Ginger and Zwings to bring more than 150 e-scooters to the streets of Staffordshire this week.
Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said; “The trials of rental e-scooters starting in Staffordshire could offer cleaner, efficient and more affordable travel for local communities.
“Learning from trials already taking place, Staffordshire’s will see strict safety measures introduced - including license verification and responsible parking incentives, while also helping us better understand any impacts on public spaces.”
Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport David Williams said: “Our electric scooter trials in Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stafford brings us an exciting opportunity to explore alternative and green transport options for our communities. As people gradually return to their workplace, they will be able to try a new way of travelling which may reduce bus and car use.
“The trial is part of our SIMULATE project, where selected small businesses are bringing innovation and industry expertise to find sustainable transport and clean air solutions which will bring real long-term benefits to communities and businesses. Electric vehicle development will play an integral role in future transport.
“The county council is pleased to be a partner in the SIMULATE project. We have set out our continued to commitment to combatting climate change and transport innovation is a key part of that.”
Staffordshire is a unique location to trial e-scooters due to its rural location and size of its local towns – far smaller than city locations that have e-scooters available. Ginger will be managing the e-scooters in Stafford, with Zwings responsible for the trial at Newcastle-under-Lyme. By using two providers in different locations will provide valuable data that that will be evaluated through the SIMULATE programme over the 12month period that the e-scooters will be on trial for.
Hannah Bartram, Chief Operating Officer at ADEPT said: “The e-scooter trials are an exciting part of the Live Labs programme. ADEPT members have been working hard to encourage the safe use of e-scooters and the role they could play as a vital part of everyday journeys – particularly the first mile - last mile between home and transport hubs like bus and train stations. They could contribute significantly to changes in short distance travel patterns and our reliance on the car, reducing congestion and helping to tackle climate change.”
Sunita Dulai, Head of Business Improvement for Transport Infrastructure at Amey, said: “The way people interact with shared transport methods is changing and we have seen this shift more rapidly since the coronavirus pandemic. The trial of e-scooters in Staffordshire through the SIMULATE programme excites me. Looking at micromobility as a new form of shared transport could have a positive impact on not only the way communities move around their towns but a positive impact on air quality and the environment by reducing the use of cars and buses in these populated areas.”
As part of trial each e-scooter provider will be operating different age restrictions. Those hiring e-scooters with Ginger need to be aged 18 and have a provisional, full drivers or motorcycle licence. Those hiring e-scooters with Zwings can do so from the age of 16 but will also need to have in their possession a provisional, full drivers or motorcycle licence.
Paul Hodgins, CEO of Ginger said “Ginger is thrilled to bring our unique service to Stafford. Building on our operations across the UK, we are already a trusted partner to initiate this exciting transport solution. We are excited to be launching e-scooters in Stafford as part of the SIMULATE project with a great set of partners. This initiative again demonstrates the UK's ambition to be a world-leader in transport innovation. Additionally, helping to bring communities and businesses together to aid the COVID-19 recovery is what Ginger is here for, and we look forward to Stafford’s residents coming along to try our e-scooters #LetsGoGinger.”
Joe Lewin, CEO for Zwings, said: “Zwings is a leading UK based micromobility operator focussing on delivering a hyper localised transport solution in Newcastle Under Lyme and other towns and cities across the UK. Staffordshire presents an exciting environment to test such solutions to help connect rural communities with their local towns in ways in which have never formally been analysed in the past.”
Staffordshire County Council is working with Amey to test not only the micromobility trials but how e-scooters can form part of the evolving mobility ecosystem for Staffordshire.
ADEPT represents local authority, county, unitary and metropolitan Directors. The ADEPT SMART Places Live Labs programme is a two-year £22.9 million project funded by the Department for Transport and supported by project partners SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business, EY, Kier, O2, Ringway and WSP. Nine local authorities are working on projects to introduce digital innovation across SMART mobility, transport, highways, maintenance, data, energy and communications. Live Labs is part of ADEPT’s SMART Places programme to support the use of digital technology in place-based services.
For all the latest information on the SIMULATE project and more information on the recent winners, visit https://simulate-adeptlivelabs.co.uk/