Modern Transport Bill to be published in early 2017

12.00 | 6 October 2016 | | 4 comments

Chris Grayling, the new transport secretary, has announced that the Modern Transport Bill will be published early next year to help Britain become a world-leader in autonomous driving technology.

In his address to the Conservative Party Conference on 3 October, Mr Grayling heralded the ‘transport revolution’ that driverless cars will bring, insisting the technology will ‘transform’ the lives of the elderly and disabled.

The speech, featured in a news report by the RAC, also urged business to help make the UK a global hub for driverless vehicles.

The Modern Transport Bill, first announced in the Queen’s Speech in May, is intended to encourage investment in driverless and electric cars, and ensure insurance is available to users of driverless vehicles.

It is hoped the legislation will help to cut congestion for motorists, boost the UK’s economy and make more efficient use of the country’s road network.

The Bill is one of a number of ways the Government, which expects the development of driverless cars to play a vital role in the country’s economic future, is pursuing the growth of the technology.

In March, it confirmed that the UK would hold trials for driverless lorries, while in February it announced a further £20m would be invested in developing the technology.

The Government is also supporting the UK’s first public autonomous vehicle trial, currently taking place in Greenwich.

Mr Grayling told delegates at the Conservative Party Conference: “I recently had my first experience of a driverless car – and, believe me, it’s a very unusual experience.

“But, do you know what, it’s all of our futures – and what a difference it’s going to make. And I think particularly what is exciting about this is the difference it’s going to make to the lives of the elderly or disabled. I think it will transform their lives almost more than anyone else’s in our society.

“It will mean better use of our roads, more reliable journeys, safer motoring – and I want us to be at the forefront of that.”




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    Pat, Whilst I watched programmes several years ago predicting such things as flying cars etc thinking at the time they would all come to pass, the passage of time has allowed reality to set in and it is easier to see why some predictions are still waiting to happen and others have “taken-off”. Flying cars need, certainly in this country, changes to infrastructure to allow them to be used whereas autonomous cars can use existing infrastructure (mostly) and presently available technology to succeed.

    The time to their ubiquity (?) will be limited only by people’s money and desire to buy one. Think of all those baby-boomer pensioners who can longer drive themselves. Freedom.
    However there will be a lag before all segments of society can afford one so this may well cause issues between those driving themselves and those being “driven” along!

    Nick, Lancashire
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    In the 1960s, the expectation was (well in the USA anyway) that by the year 2000 we would have cars parked in our garages that could also sprout wings and fly off from our driveway. Personal helicopters and jet packs were also transport options and the sky would be teeming with commuters. Whilst flying cars have been made, (the Moulton Taylor Aerocar and the Moller Sky car to name but two) flying cars have yet to become a commercial reality.

    Autonomous driving technology will bring driverless cars to us in a much shorter time scale than has been achieved by flying cars but I’m not holding my breath. I think it will be quite a while before they become ubiquitous.

    Pat, Wales
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    Just because a vehicle may be capable of driving itself that does not mean it can do so safely in a mixed environment at any speed. Speed limits will still be necessary and as long as the vehicle’s software does not see them as a target that must be reached then safety will in my view be improved over human controlled vehicles. Also if a large number of those currently unable to drive are able to buy or access a vehicle the number of vehicles on the road may well increase so cyclists will still need to be considered. Autonomous vehicles are not the total solution, for instance pedestrians will still need to be advised to avoid them.

    Nick, Lancashire
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    Fear the cyclists and the 20 is plenty brigade for I believe that this government will sideline both of these present measures in favour of an accident free nation caused by the new electronic era. Welcome to the future.

    Bob Craven Lancs
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