Measures to place the UK at the forefront of technology for new forms of transport including autonomous vehicles have been set out in the Queen’s Speech this morning.
Government will take forward a Modern Transport Bill that aims to cut red tape and put in place a framework to encourage innovation in transport technology. The Bill aims to encourage potential investors in autonomous vehicles to come forward and to ensure appropriate insurance is available to support the use of autonomous and driverless vehicles.
Another Bill outlined in the Queen’s Speech is a Neighbourhood Planning & Infrastructure Bill, which will support Government’s ambition to built a million new homes, protect the Green Belt see the National Infrastructure Commission established on a statutory basis.
And a Bus Services Bill in England will give elected mayors and local transport authorities further powers to improve bus services. Passengers across the country are promised real time information about timetables and fares, with data being made available to allow app developers to give passengers better bus journey information.
Intel Security's director of Government relations Gordon Morrison said: “Today’s announcements around driverless cars, as part of the Modern Transport Bill, are clear examples of where the Government is actively pursuing cutting edge technologies that will not only support our economy, but also position the UK as a global leader in transport technology. However it is crucial that in its pursuit of innovation the Government doesn’t neglect the security essentials which will guarantee not only the success of these new technologies, but also the safety of its users.”
Law firm Bircham Dyson Bell's partner Angus Walker said of the Neighbourhood Planning & Infrastructure Bill: “The Bill establishing the National Infrastructure Commission will be a test of the Government’s resolve to plan the UK’s long term infrastructure needs and it will be interesting to see the extent to which it retains the final say on the Commission’s work.”
The Campaign for Better Transport welcomed new powers contained in the Buses Bill, but warned that the Government’s new Modern Transport Bill risks focusing on futuristic technology at the expense of everyday transport. “Autonomous vehicles are all well and good, but most people would prefer to see their everyday transport sorted out first,” said its chief executive Stephen Joseph.
Ernst & Young smart transport director Nathan Marsh said the Buses Bill could herald the beginning of a journey to smarter travel and pave the way for cities and regions to reap the benefits of a London style network. "With these new powers devolved to combined authorities and metro Mayors there may also be a greater amount of accountability through locally measured and managed services," he said.
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