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Live Labs Blog: Connected Places Catapult last mile mobility study

22 February 2021

This month's guest blog is from the Connected Places Catapult, who are working with the team from Buck's Live Lab.

With our streets becoming increasingly congested, we urgently need to find new ways of conducting short journeys and diversify our last mile mobility options to reduce the overreliance on private cars and delivery vans. This shift is required to cut carbon emissions and meet our net zero targets. There are many existing and emerging mobility solutions which have the potential to reduce the environmental, social, and economic impact of road congestion and the detrimental aspects of growth. However, the success of such solutions depends on many factors which need to be explored in a local context.

We at the Connected Places Catapult (CPC) are conducting an in-depth last mile mobility feasibility study to explore such factors and address relevant challengesOur work is part of the Smart Mobility theme of Buckinghamshire Council’s Live Lab project. We are scoping the current last mile mobility landscape and making recommendations for implementing future solutions. Our recommendations will be based on the potential benefits and challenges of introducing last mile solutions in the context of UK urban, sub-urban, and rural communities and we will consider the varying mobility needs of each. 

First or last mile mobility is the movement of goods or people over short distances to facilitate either:
a) end-to-end short journeys between a precise origin and destination, or;
b) modal connections as part of a longer journey.

The project key outputs are:

  1. literature review to explore the existing, emerging and future last mile mobility solutions for moving people and goods. 
  2. problem definition using interviews with Buckinghamshire council to define a set of targeted problem statements.
  3. multi-criteria decision analysis framework to evaluate the different last mile options and identify a short-list of solutions that satisfy defined needs.
  4. high-level pilot specification for demonstrating one of the shortlisted solutions in a sub-urban setting.
  5. An outline roadmap for the development of first and last mile mobility solutions which will identify the infrastructure and technology requirements of introducing these solutions.

To date, we have completed the literature review and the problem definition which presents eight problem statements captured from the interviews which are applicable to Buckinghamshire Council and similar authorities.

Our team is currently conducting the multicriteria decision analysis to evaluate which solutions best meet our set of defined objectives and address the challenge statements set out above. Following the feasibility study, we plan to run a pilot of our chosen solution to collect evidence to support a wider roll out. Our lessons learnt from the pilot will be shared with key stakeholders from the public and private sectors. 

The Connected Places Catapult (CPC) is the UK’s innovation accelerator for cities, transport, and places. CPC provide impartial ‘innovation as a service’ for mobility and built environment businesses, infrastructure providers and public institutions to catalyse step-change improvements in the way people live, work and travel.