Department for Transport is laying out its vision for the future of mobility and "last-mile" deliveries.

Vans could one day be removed from city streets, replaced with electric cargo bikes and quadricycles.

That’s the vision laid out by the government this week as part of plans to transform so-called “last-mile deliveries”, where goods are delivered to their destination from a nearby depot.

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At present, there are more than four million vans on British roads, and the authorities expect this to increase over the coming years. However, the Department for Transport (DfT) wants to swap conventionally fuelled vans with environmentally friendly alternatives.

As part of its “Future of Mobility Grand Challenge”, the government has also laid out its dream of increasing shared travel and use of self-driving vehicles, allowing parking spaces to be removed in city centres to make way for hundreds of thousands of urban homes.


To help it achieve this goal, the DfT has announced £12.1 million of funding for six projects that are working on the simulation and modelling required to develop connected and autonomous vehicles.

Other plans include the use of drones and aerial vehicles to improve mobility, as well as increased use of shared transport booked via a smartphone app.

Electro cargo bike Urban Arrow

Transport Minister Jesse Norman said: “The UK has a long and proud history of leading the world in transport innovation and our Future of Mobility Grand Challenge is designed to ensure this continues.

“We are on the cusp of an exciting and profound change in how people, goods and services move around the country which is set to be driven by extraordinary innovation.

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“This could bring significant benefits to people right across the country and presents enormous economic opportunities for the UK, with autonomous vehicles sales set to be worth up to £52 billion by 2035.”