Cambridge has been chosen by an electric scooter operator to put a fleet of scooters on UK streets during an exclusive 12-month trial.
Swedish-based micro-mobility firm Voi plans to bring the e-scooters to the city by September and will work closely with transport providers, including train and bus operators.
The company will work in collaboration with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority to create more than 50 jobs.
The local authority hopes the initiative will encourage active travel with social distancing and help to reduce congestion and pollution. The company said it would also support key workers with free rides and support local businesses to enable them to offer or extend delivery services.
“We are delighted to announce that Cambridge, the world’s most renowned city for innovation and technology, will be the first place in the UK where people can use a Voi e-scooter and enjoy the benefits of this liberating new form of transport,” Fredrik Hjelm, co-founder and CEO of Voi Technology, said.
“People are keen to get out of their cars and want greener transport choices. Cities that are serious about cutting pollution and congestion see that this is a huge opportunity to introduce a mode of transport that can radically improve how we get around urban areas. We can’t wait to get started in Cambridgeshire which has some of the best cycling infrastructure in the UK making it an ideal location to launch this revolutionary transport.
“We are seeing the biggest change in the way people travel in a hundred years and Voi is here to help the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority bring about this huge shift in culture and travel habits, to the benefit of both cities and their residents.”
Mayor James Palmer, the leader of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, said: “Electric bikes and scooters have the potential to revolutionise travel and I am delighted that Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will be the first region in the country to make both available to the public so they can enjoy quicker, healthier journeys.
“This year has seen a 27% drop in carbon emissions and a 200% increase in cycling, with people enjoying soaring air quality and fitter lifestyles, the benefits to moving away from cars and buses are clear and our investment shows we are committed to rolling out a fully integrated active travel network for our region.”
According to Voi, an estimated 106 deaths per year in the Greater Cambridge area can be attributed to air pollution.
Voi and the Combined Authority hope this new partnership will help to reduce CO2 emissions by 395 tonnes across the region by August 2021.