Coventry City Council is to embark on a trial which aims to investigate how new technologies can be used to support people moving round the West Midlands in a more sustainable way.
The trial is part of the West Midlands Future Transport Zone which aims to help reduce congestion, improve air quality and tackle climate change.
The council is working with Transport for West Midlands on a ‘mobility credits’ trial. In a national first, Coventry residents with an older, polluting car could get the chance to exchange their vehicle for mobility credits. The credits could be spent on public transport, as well as new transport modes such as car clubs, bikeshare, or new bus services. Anyone taking part in the trial will be able to access their credits through a mobile app, which will allow them to plan, book and pay for journeys using mobility credits.
Due to start in late 2020, the council will look to take vehicles which produce the most Nitrogen Dioxide emissions off Coventry roads. This means diesel vehicles that are not Euro 6 compliant (most of these were manufactured before 2016), and petrol vehicles that are not Euro 4 compliant (most of these were manufactured before 2006). Full information about the eligibility will be available when the trial launches.
“This scheme will also be limited to specific areas of Coventry. Air quality concerns in the city are specific to certain areas, and we want to improve air quality in those places first. We also want to make sure that participants in the scheme have access to the best possible transport options. We will announce which areas the trial will be launching in later in 2020,” said the council.
The council is aiming to give residents enough credits to cover their transport needs, with values estimated at this stage to be between £1,500-£3,000.
Although air quality in Coventry has improved a lot in recent decades, it still exceeds the National Objective for Nitrogen Dioxide levels at several locations, according to the council. “Poor air quality has adverse effects on the health of people living and working in Coventry. Emissions from various forms of transport are a significant contributor to poor quality in Coventry, and a Local Air Quality Action Plan has been approved by the Council’s Cabinet. The Plan sets out a range of measures being taken to improve air quality in Coventry, including road junction improvements, traffic management technology, electric taxi trial schemes, and engagement with communities to promote active and sustainable travel,” it says.
“Changing from driving to using more sustainable transport, including walking and cycling, will also reduce carbon emissions from transport, helping tackle climate change. It can also reduce congestion on roads, providing a cost-effective and convenient way to get around.”