Eco-wonder or safety nightmare? This was the subject of an online poll on electric scooters led by one broadsheet this week.

The first tests of e-scooters will take place from this weekend, as the government pushes ahead with its plans to provide green alternatives to cars.

It hopes that scooters and bikes could play a big part in getting Britain moving again as we emerge from lockdown.

Charities have warned though that their legalisation on roads would present significant risks to pedestrians, particularly those with visual impairments and mobility problems.
Whatever your position on the merits of e-scooters, this much is clear – that significant technological and social developments have propelled the need for high-quality and reliable data about our roads and footways far up the transport sector agenda.

Only with rich intelligence about our highways and roadscape and their condition can local authorities and other stakeholders be certain about the degree to which our networks are ready – and critically, safe – for new forms of transport.

Last year, Gaist supported the Department for Transport with preparations for another form of ‘future’ transport – driverless vehicles.

We were part of a £2 million project to audit and assess white lines and other road markings for their readiness for the connected and autonomous vehicle revolution.

The work also included a ‘health check’ of sections of the National Cycle Network and the country’s footways as the Government weighed-up what interventions might be necessary to improve safety for road-users.

The audit followed an RAC report which warned that Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) “are unlikely to develop to their fullest potential without advanced planning by transport policymakers, planners and engineers ….Little attention has yet been paid to what impact different CAV strategies will have on the condition of road infrastructure, and its maintenance, renewal and configuration requirements.”

The current pace of change in our sector and the innovations that are coming to market, make this an exciting period.

But today, as always, safety must be the imperative.

And to achieve the safest roads for all users, we must be armed with the deepest and richest understanding possible of their condition.

For more details on how Gaist supports organisations to build the deepest possible understanding of their networks through the capture and analysis of rich data, contact us at info@gaist.co.uk