A shared transport charity has drawn up and costed plans for five types of mobility hubs to answer key questions about their design and delivery.
Collaborative Mobility UK (CoMoUK) published guidance showing how mobility hubs could be introduced in various settings across Scotland, with a feasibility study carried out for each.
Mobility hubs bring together shared, public and active travel modes, along with community facilities, and redesign and reallocate space away from the private car. They are used in many cities across Europe and North America and are increasingly spreading in the UK.
The hubs can take several different forms, ranging from larger interchanges in busy city centres to mini stations which are tailored to suburban or rural areas.
Designers used real places to create fictional but plausible settings for five different typologies. A city centre hub inspired by the layout of Glasgow’s Trongate was costed at £631,277 and includes a bus interchange, an electric vehicle car club, a waiting area and a bike share scheme.
Separately, a transport corridor costing £499,699 was designed with the city’s Sauchiehall Street in mind, showing how best to deliver a mobility hub on a linear thoroughfare.
Meanwhile, a business park or housing development hub was inspired by Stirling’s Castle Business Park, the layout of Milngavie train station was used to model a suburban mini hub, and a market town or tourism hub was hypothetically designed for Stonehaven train station.
The examples illustrated by CoMoUK are all designed to be part of a network of hubs and give sustainable, practical solutions to ‘first and last mile’ connectivity, which helps to reduce private car usage in urban areas.
They also meet CoMoUK’s accreditation criteria for mobility hubs and act as an exemplar design standard for built environment professionals and organisations wishing to understand what this infrastructure might look like, relative to cost.
The charity’s document, titled ‘The design process – mobility hubs realised; Process, illustrations and costings’, is the first time a thorough design process has been undertaken on mobility hubs in the UK.
It seeks to address questions for planners and built environment professionals on what mobility hubs should look like, how much they cost and what should be included in them.
Some of the local settings were altered slightly to fit the exercise.
CoMoUK has also developed a cohesive set of standards for assessing the quality of mobility hubs. These focus on six key factors:
- Visibility and accessibility – hubs must be identifiable as part of the transport network, and accessible to all
- Choice of sustainable modes – including public and shared modes, with consideration of pedestrians
- Ease of switching between modes – this link should apply in both physical and digital terms
- Ensuring traveller safety is a key priority
- The design should include non-transport practical facilities
- Visual, social and community appeal to enhance the local area
Mark Dowey, senior development officer (built environment) at CoMoUK, said:
“Mobility hubs increase transport links, improve public health, bring economic benefits to the local community and save people money. They can help to reduce congestion and allow for the revitalisation of cities and towns by reclaiming space from private care.
“Mobility hubs are already popular and delivering widespread benefits in countries including Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and the USA. They extend the appeal of public, shared and active transport modes by facilitating access to them over the ‘first and last mile’ of people’s journeys.
“Technological advances, commitments to tackle the climate crisis and travel behavioural changes caused by the Covid pandemic mean the current policy landscape in Scotland is rich to deliver mobility hubs. It is important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all design for a mobility hub.
“This new document seeks to show how they could be implemented in real-life scenarios while answering questions on what they might look like, how much they cost, what is in them and why people should use shared transport.
“Understanding the different typologies and components available for a mobility hub is crucial to their success.”