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Would you explore the Lake District in a driverless vehicle (pod)?

Posted on 24th May 2018 by CE Team

Every year, over 18-million visitors arrive to enjoy a range of outdoor activities in the Lake District. And that means higher atmospheric pollution and greater damage to the local environment from the thousands of extra vehicles. With so many people looking for things to do in the Lake District this year, the National Parks Authority has undertaken a feasibility study into ways of reducing environmental damage.

Driverless Electric Vehicles

Lake District driverless cars

Credit: Lake District National Park

If, during April, you stayed in Above Cot, one of our cottages in Windermere, you may well have seen the futuristic electric pods on display at Brockhole. Already in use at London Heathrow’s terminal 5 and Birmingham and Manchester airports, these vehicles are one of the solutions under consideration to reduce congestion and pollution in the national park’s hot spots. But are driverless pods a workable way of reducing pollution long term?

The Positives

Certainly, there are several benefits to be gained from replacing family cars with electric pods in many areas of the Lake District. For instance, you’ve booked a stay at 22, Rose Cottage, one of our dog-friendly cottages in Keswick. Your car will be parked in its designated parking bay for the length of your stay. All you have to do is walk down to the electric pod’s pick-up point, and be ferried in style to your destination of choice.

With a maximum speed of 25 mph, you can enjoy a leisurely cruise from our Lake District cottages through the countryside free of worry from oncoming traffic. The elderly may enjoy a far more satisfying holiday experience than they do try to negotiate narrow roads in their car, or using the local bus service. Those with mobility issues could benefit from specially adapted pods, where they could drive their chairs onto the pods and clip them down. A system similar to that used on the channel tunnel vehicle transporters is not beyond the realms of possibility.

Car Free Areas

To stand any chance of success, certain areas would have to be designated car-free. It is already the government’s stated intention to make the UK electric cars only by 2040, less than 25 years away. Should that come to fruition, atmospheric pollution from vehicles should become a thing of the past. That thought still leaves the environmental damage and traffic congestion that areas of the Lake District suffer.

To make car-free areas would entail turning swathes of rural land outside towns into large, long-stay carparks, with all the security needed to ensure visitors vehicles remain safe. Holidaymakers would then transfer to pods to complete their journey to one of our cottages in Windermere or our cottages in Keswick. An additional problem would be cyclists taking unnecessary risks on the roads knowing they are vehicle free, except for the driverless electric pods.

A Lot to be Considered

With so many outdoor activities in the Lake District available from our Lake District cottages, a lot has to be taken into consideration. Things to do in the Lake District range from wild water swimming, rock climbing, abseiling, on and off-road cycling; to hiking, fell walking, boating, water-sports and sightseeing. All these activities require dedicated kit and equipment, packed into the family saloon or SUV.

The Lake District National Parks Authority works hard year-round to make sure the park is maintained and safe to provide all its visitors the very best of outdoor holiday experiences. The feasibility study is due to wind up at the end of June. If you would like to get involved and add your thoughts on the project, the Lake District National Park’s website is conducting a survey to get the feedback of as many locals and visitors as possible. Take five minutes, and add your views on driverless pods in the Lake District.