The lockdown has driven more and more people to
digital devices as the way we live our lives and do business has
profoundly changed following the Covid-19 outbreak. Local restaurants, for instance, have been forced to move to kerbside, while consumers have turned to online shopping in droves. The most recent data from the Office for National Statistics showed that 30% of all retail sales were online in April, a
record high, while CEOs and CTOs are increasing the speed of their IT development projects.
There has been a
specific concentration on mobility and the UK’s transport network, with the government effectively encouraging limited movements. This is something we at
AppyWay have been helping with as our insights and data have been used at the government’s so-called COBRA meetings. That being said, we still believe that the whole kerbside is going to transform significantly over the coming years.
We know, for example, that people have a
love-hate relationship with cars. Second-hand car prices are
expected to rise as consumers seek to avoid public transportation. But the vehicles face criticism over environmental, noise pollution and congestion concerns. The truth of the matter is the more digital adoption among car users we have, the better we can get at informing local and central government as well as consumers and car manufacturers themselves.
One idea to incentivise people from driving into busy locations would be to
give them a credit or token they can use in exchange for ditching their car and adopting another means of transport. We are currently
working with several local authorities at the moment who have renewed their
focus on the kerbside, not least because they are keen to create the best routes and access for key workers to access towns and cities.
There is also the issue of
Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs), a fast-tracked piece of regulation that allows cities to conduct quick amends to their parking and traffic policies. It is estimated that it costs local authorities
more than £125m to manage the TROs. Our data and insight is allowing local authorities and other decision-makers to adopt informed approaches to the issue.
This is all happening as lockdowns ease throughout the UK, but another trend is very important to the future of the kerbside and that is the
adoption of electric and hybrid vehicles. As of 2018, there were more than 200,000 ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) on the streets of the UK, according to
The Department for Transport. The National Grid, meanwhile, has estimated that the number of EVs in the UK could be up to 10.6m by 2030 and
36m by 2040 in two decades time.
There are still a host of questions and queries that need to be answered around the industry, not least where the best places to put chargers are, how this impacts driver behavior and the kerbside at-large as well how these points mirror the rollout of EV adoption.
Range anxiety among consumers is also a big factor, despite The Department for Transport stating that there are
24,000 public charging connectors in almost 9,000 locations across the UK. There is a massive opportunity to be had by business and local and central government here, but more digitisation and using the right data will be key to solving these problems and there is a strong argument that digitisation before electrification is the right step forward.
Such a move would
reduce capital expenditure and operational cost of budget constrained local authorities and provide better parking navigation services to help reduce pollution and congestion. EVs are one part of the solution, but as the UK buys up second-hand cars to protect themselves from Covid-19 we need solutions to address the masses, quickly and cost efficiently. I will conclude with one figure which may focus policy makers and local authorities’ minds: congestion reportedly costs the UK economy
£6.9bn a year.
Dan Hubert is the founder and CEO of AppyWay