SOUTHAMPTON is set to benefit from an upcoming £29 million trial which will move medical products between hospitals via drones and allow people to pay for transport using a smartphone app.

The plans come as Solent Transport won the funds from the Department for Transport to build solutions for personal mobility and freight movements on public transport across the Solent area.

The three-year Solent Transport Zone programme aims to address challenges such as high car usage levels and environmental impacts of freight movement in urban areas.

The funding means the Solent area will benefit from several transport solutions, such as smartphone apps for planning and paying for sustainable journeys demand; e-bike share scheme; and new approaches to freight distribution, including drone freight trials for NHS deliveries across the Solent to the Isle of Wight.

Councillor Jacqui Rayment, Southampton City Council’s Cabinet Member for Place & Transport and Chair of Solent Transport Joint Committee, said: “We want to trial new approaches that provide better, more efficient, more sustainable ways to travel and which will reduce environmental impacts of transport helping us tackle climate change.”

University of Southampton will trial an upgrade of the Solent Go multi-operator smartcard to an app-based platform, alongside University of Portsmouth, by using a Mobility as a Service app product.

Working with University partners, Solent Transport will run projects testing approaches to freight deliveries and trial the UK’s first drone delivery network for the NHS, moving medical products between hospitals.

Councillor Rob Humby, Hampshire County Council’s executive member for economy, transport, said: “The Solent Mobility Zone will help make the Solent area a better place to live, work and do business. I am delighted that this bid has been successful, and we can now use this funding to develop trials of new technologies and approaches which have the potential to be used across the country.”