The next Welsh Government should prioritise shared transport such as car and bike share schemes to help meet climate change targets and improve public health, a leading mobility charity has said.
Collaborative Mobility (CoMoUK) sets out a number of areas where shared transport could play a role in improving the lives of people in Wales and reducing pollution.
‘A greener, fairer and healthier Wales’ acknowledges the government had already created a ‘solid foundation’ with its recent transport strategy. But it added that the country ‘can and should go further with shared transport’. That includes the roll-out of more car and bike-sharing schemes, the creation of mobility hubs across the country, and opening talks with the UK Government about how to introduce e-scooter trials.
A flexible bus service – where users in a certain area can order buses on-demand has already been successfully introduced in Wales, and should be looked at across the country.
The Welsh Government and 16 local authorities have declared a climate emergency, and the country wants to hit net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.
Recent analysis showed private cars account for 62 per cent of Welsh emissions. In response, the new government should consider grants for people buying electric cars and offer incentives for the scrapping of older, high-polluting vehicles, the charity said.
It also called for the government to use planning laws to compel developers to create mobility hubs – where green transport links and community facilities are brought together – in new housing estates.
Shared transport schemes should also be promoted in areas of social deprivation to better connect cut-off communities and improve both mental and physical health.
A project in Cardiff which ‘prescribes’ cycling should be expanded, the charity says, and the NHS should create mobility hubs of their own at all major health service sites.
The document also cites a case study from a 53-year-old shared bicycle user in Swansea who said he was “fitter than I’ve ever been in my life” as a result of the initiative, and had taken advantage of the city’s cycle path network he’d previously been unaware of.
Richard Dilks, chief executive of CoMoUK, said:
“The next Welsh Government faces significant challenges when it comes to cutting emissions, reducing car dependence, and improving public health.
“All this has to take place while we fight back from the effects of the Covid pandemic.
“Shared transport is absolutely key to reducing pollution, but it provides many other benefits too.
“It encourages physical activity which makes people healthier in mind and body, saves money for those who have ditched their private car for shared options, and reduces congestion.
“The Welsh Government has made a great start with its transport strategy, and there’s now a huge opportunity to build on that.
“Studies have shown that when shared and green transport alternatives are made available, people want to use them.
“Our vision is to use shared transport to make Wales a greener, fairer and healthier country.”