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How can mobility hubs benefit the Scottish housing sector?

SFHA Associate CoMoUK's Senior Development Officer Mark Dowey discusses the social, economic and environment benefits of mobility hubs in his short blog. 

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By Mark Dowey, Senior Development Officer – Built Environment, CoMoUk

The concept of mobility hubs has developed in mainland Europe and the USA over the last 20 years. There has been growing interest in them in the UK in both urban and rural locations, with the first ones appearing in Scotland in 2021. 

The Scottish Government recognised their potential in the second Strategic Transport Projects Review earlier this year, stating that high-quality mobility hubs across Scotland, “can increase connectivity, improve links between public transport modes, active travel and shared transport options, and promote seamless travel opportunities, particularly for those without access to a car.” 

Broadly speaking, mobility hubs create space for public and shared mobility modes whilst also improving the public realm. A more specific definition, as outlined in CoMoUK’s Mobility Hubs Guidance, is that a mobility hub is, “a recognisable place with an offer of different and connected transport modes supplemented with enhanced facilities and information features to both attract and benefit the traveller.” 

Mobility hubs meet several policy goals, including helping to decarbonise the transport sector, tackling air quality issues, and using land more efficiently and allowing for greater housing densities. They can also reduce congestion, allow for the revitalisation of cities by reclaiming space from the private car, and help tackle transport poverty by giving users viable, cheap, and easily accessible alternatives to the private car. 

Recent developments in Scotland include a mobility hub at the Calderwood housing development in East Lothian; Musselburgh Journey Hub, a precursor for a connected network of council-implemented hubs in East Lothian; and a community-driven Loch Ness Travel Hub at Drumnadrochit. CoMoUK has case studies for each of these examples. 

Understanding the different typologies and components available for a mobility hub are crucial to their success. CoMoUK has developed guidance around six different hub typologies that vary according to their location and proposed use. The suitability of hub components, be it shared bikes, an electric vehicle car club, or non-transport facilities such as parcel lockers, is then understood through this approach and improved by a community engagement process.  

CoMoUK is a registered charity, dedicated to the social, economic, and environmental benefits of shared transport. We offer design guidance and an accreditation scheme to assist any organisations interested in setting up a mobility hub. More information is available at www.como.org.uk.   

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