When more and more people are moving to urban centers but infrastructure is not growing at the same pace, how can cities find new ways to get people and goods from A to B?
Have you heard of PLVs?
PLVs is a collective term for a range of two, three and four-wheeled vehicles designed for passenger or cargo use. Their compact size and light weight make them well-suited to urban areas where walking, cycling or public transportation options are impractical.
As most forms of PLV will be powered by low or zero carbon energy sources, many see them as a clean and practical alternative to bigger vehicles that would demand more road space.
It’s hoped PLVs could displace inefficient forms of personal travel (like personal cars, which have low occupancy) to provide low impact mobility services, or act as an alternative to trucks that regularly use a fraction of their load capacity.
So, when will they be on our roads?
To realize the potential of PLVs, a number of hurdles need to be cleared. In a recent report, the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) outlined how PLVs had, to date, received too little attention. It wants to stimulate policymakers and other stakeholders to consider how PLVs could help meet mobility objectives.
The LowCVP highlighted how PLVs are used in large numbers in certain global markets and outlined how demand for this type of vehicle was likely to grow as the need increases for mobility in urban environments where space is limited.
The LowCVP made a series of recommendations to stimulate interest, including:
Raising awareness among key stakeholders - fleet buyers, consumers and policy makers
A whole life-cycle assessment of PLVs, so consumers and legislators have quantitative data
Making representations at EU level to include PLVs in fleet averages to encourage manufacture and purchase
New safety regulations and pedestrian impact testing
Can cities cope with new vehicle formats?
With vehicle technology developing so quickly, cities have struggled to prepare for new forms of mobility. Even the inevitable prospect of increased numbers of electric cars on the road has had many authorities wondering how to best support the development of charging and other roadway infrastructure.
For public authorities keen to create greener, more integrated transport networks, there’s a big opportunity to encourage the growth in electric car ownership by assisting the development of much-needed charging infrastructure.
When you add multiple new types of vehicles into the picture it becomes even more complicated. Especially, when mobility firms are as keen to fill the sky with vehicles as the road and the sidewalk.
That said, cities are getting incrementally better at making much needed provisions – and moves to standardize common processes like charging and storage could enhance a city’s ability to accommodate multiple forms of electric vehicle, reduce congestion and help people and goods move about seamlessly.
How we’re enabling next-generation mobility
Rethinking urban mobility solutions to help cities keep moving is key to building smarter cities. Location intelligence, such as the tools that HERE provides, is a critical component for helping cities make these decisions, whether finding better ways to analyze traffic patterns and urban movement or partnering with taxi services to provide better routes through the city.