UK government issues call for evidence on future of transport regulatory review

March 17, 2020

The UK government has issued a call for evidence related to its Future of Transport regulatory review. The call for evidence asks:

  • what the opportunities and risks of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) platforms might be, and what role central and local governments should play in the platforms’ development;
  • whether certain micromobility vehicles (such as electric scooters) should be permitted on the road, and if so, what vehicle and user requirements would be appropriate; and
  • how effective existing rules are around flexible bus services, and which other areas of the bus, taxi and private hire vehicle framework should be considered in the review.

The call for evidence points out that multiple changes in transport are happening at once, including:

  • Changes in transport technology, such as the growing availability of transport data, advances in machine learning, increasing levels of automation, the development of new modes, and the transition to cleaner, more efficient vehicles and systems.
  • Changes in demand for transport, in the context of the increasingly diverse and ageing population, the importance of accessible transport, evolving work arrangements and commuting patterns, and the increasing use of smartphones for travel purposes.
  • Changes in transport business models, as new digitally enabled business models emerge and shared mobility becomes more prevalent.

Regulation has evolved in a piecemeal way and therefore needs fundamental review. The regulatory review contains several workstreams. Those of interest to tech lawyers include:

Zero emission vehicles

This review is considering how the powers given to government in the Automated and Electric Vehicles (AEV) Act 2018 should be used. The government recently consulted on proposals for electric vehicle smart chargepoint regulations under the Act, including a call for evidence on the transmission of chargepoint data. It will publish the outcome of this consultation in due course.

Self-driving vehicles

This review considers the legal and regulatory framework to enable the safe development, and deployment of connected and automated vehicles. The Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles is working with the Law Commission for England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission on proposals for a long-term regulatory framework. CCAV is also working with the Department for Transport and its motoring agencies on safety and cyber-security assurance, including supporting trials on public roads.

Drones and future flight

This review is considering the role that new potential air mobility solutions, such as vertical take-off and landing concepts, could play in transforming air mobility and improving regional connectivity. This is alongside the existing regulation programmes for drones and commercial space flight and the Civil Aviation Authority’s project to transform the way it engages with innovation in the aviation sector.

Transport data

This review is considering the role for regulation, or other incentive mechanisms, in the sharing of certain transport data, to support healthy competition, empower consumers and local and national authorities, and enable greater integration of transport modes.

Mobility as a Service

This review is considering the regulatory changes that may be necessary to support the integration of different transport modes into a single mobility service, and the case for the government to do more to shape the development of MaaS platforms.

The call for evidence includes a detailed section on Mobility as a Service.

There are new business models that package different modes and services together onto one platform to make planning and payment of trips easier for consumers. The government asks what, in the development of MaaS platforms, the role of local authorities, central government, or other transport authorities should be. It also asks for evidence about further measures that are required for the standardisation and interoperability of data, for example the routing, ticketing and timetabling data, to deliver MaaS. It also asks who should lead these further measures (eg central government, local government, industry).  

The government further asks if the roll out of the integrated style of ticketing required to facilitate MaaS is prevented by any regulatory or commercial barriers.  It would also like to consider any competition concerns presented by MaaS that could be difficult to address through existing regulations.

In addition, the government requests views on whether the current framework for consumer protection needs to be expanded to include liability for multi-modal journeys. It also requests views on accessibility and inclusivity.

Data is also discussed and the government calls for views about actions necessary to ensure that MaaS platforms provide safe and appropriate use of data; and protection of an individual’s information. It also asks whether guidance or a code of practice would be beneficial and if so, what content should be included in it.

The consultation ends on 22 May 2020.