UPS talks urban delivery trials ahead of Freight in the City Birmingham Summit

UPS director of sustainability for Europe, Peter Harris, shares some of the work taking place across European cities ahead of his appearance at Freight in the City Spring Summit next month.

Global parcel carrier UPS is to trial a brand-new urban delivery concept in London this year.

The company plans to operate new electrically-assisted cargo containers in London’s busy Westminster area, in an effort to reduce the emissions and congestion associated with increasing van usage in the capital.

Technology used on the ‘e-trailer’ is termed net neutral, so the weight of the trailer is not felt by the handler, allowing for increased volumes of last-mile deliveries by foot or cycling.

The trailer is being developed through the Low Impact City Logistics project, which is part of a £10m research investment by InnovateUK for collaborative R&D to improve end-to-end people and freight journeys.

It is planned that a number of the e-trailers would be preloaded at the UPS centre in Camden before being brought in on a larger trailer towed behind a normal delivery vehicle for helpers to then make the final mile  by foot or cycle.

Peter Harris (pictured), director of sustainability for Europe  at UPS, tells Freight in the City that the concept for the trailers was a natural extension to an urban delivery operation that has been running in Hamburg, Germany for a number of years.

This sees a number of urban micro depots – large containers, much like the size used for sea freight – positioned around the city.

The containers hold enough volume for several helpers to work from throughout the day, delivering parcels by foot, bike or e-trike.

The helpers also collect parcels from residents and businesses in the city centre and return them to the containers for pick-up at the end of the day by one lorry.

“So, instead of it being trucks moving around in the city all day, it’s one truck in and one truck out, and the rest of the time we’re using zero-truck transport, which is the ambition to try and get trucks out of the city and the emissions and congestion that go with them,” explains Harris.

The Hamburg model is now being expanded to other European cities.

Mega city

“But when we came to thinking about London, we thought we probably need a slightly different approach here,” says Harris.

One of the key challenges was London’s density, he says, as a mega city, with the option of siting a number of large containers on valuable road or pavement space being unlikely.

Also, the option to deliver by trike might prove tricky in London’s bustling streets, making foot delivery with an e-trailer a more practical proposition.

To overcome all these challenges, UPS is working within a consortium including the University of Huddersfield, Westminster City Council, Fernhay, Skotkonung and Outspoken Delivery to develop the e-trailer technology and prototype.

“At our central London depot in Camden, the e-trailers will be positioned  on the belt just as our normal trucks are” says Harris.

“The trailers will then go down-town already loaded into drop order.”

To avoid the need to drop-off large container units across the city, e-trailers will be delivered by a transfer trailer pulled by a regular distribution truck. This will likely hold around six units, although this has not yet been finalised.

Timescale for rollout of the e-trailers has yet to be confirmed, but will take place this year.

Urban focus

The project is just one element of the move towards sustainable deliveries taking place in the UK by UPS.

For example, the company has just deployed its 52nd electric truck in London

“They’re mostly conversions from diesel, which is quite interesting in its own right because a version of the style and configuration that we wanted didn’t exist, so we developed our own  working with a German technology firm called EFA-S,” says Harris.

UPS carries out the strip-down and refurbishment of the older trucks used itself ahead of the electric conversion by EFA-S.

The company has received funding through its work on the FREVUE project that aims to establish the feasibility of electric commercial vehicles in real-life operations across Europe.

Project work has included significant expenditure to overcome the challenges of charging multiple electric vehicles from the grid at one time.

“We actually went through a major expenditure in London to achieve this. We don’t want to do this again as it’s very expensive and it’s not moveable. Nor is it incremental.

“So what we’re proposing instead is a smart grid facility that would connect our vehicles to the grid in an intelligent way and look for available capacity within the existing supply,” Harris says.

“If we can make that work, and we are hoping to do it in conjunction with UK Power Networks Services, then it could potentially open up a completely new realm of opportunity for urban electrification.”

Range-extended

The company is also planning to introduce 15 more range-extended electric 7.5-tonne Tevva Motors trucks into its fleet (pictured).

And gas-powered trucks are also a key player in the UPS alternative-fuelled fleet, with the company operating 19 HGVs on LNG from its Tamworth depot.

“The challenge is that we want to run them on renewable gas, but it’s just not available in liquid form. So we’ve had to fall back on LNG” says Harris.

“There needs to be new infrastructure put in place to capitalise on this new market.”

Harris believes the UK is well placed to be a leader in terms of renewable fuels expertise, with a political framework supportive of driving such developments forward.

As such, the UK continues to be a pivotal market for UPS to trial new emerging technologies and developments.

 

 

FTA welcomes long-term transport plan for Manchester

A long-term transport plan for Manchester has been praised by the FTA for its focus on keeping HGVs moving in peak times and “joined up thinking” around strategic road links.

The Greater Manchester Transport Strategy 2040 is the outcome of a public consultation which received just under 1,800 responses.

The strategy aims to create a well-coordinated and stable transport system, and to capitalise on the city’s road, rail and shipping links.

Malcolm Bingham, FTA’s head of policy for the North of England, said: “The strategy makes reference to HGV operations during peak periods, which is a positive if it saves trucks sitting in traffic when there is no need.

“However, that means educating the freight industry’s customers about when and how to schedule deliveries, particularly in the emerging digital economy.”

He added that it was “good to see joined-up thinking in setting up a transport system for the area that looks to join up a Key Route Network with the strategic roads of the M6, M60 and the M62”.

However Bingham added that building reliability into a transport network is a “major challenge”, and that the association would “look to work with the combined authority to ensure that freight operators receive detailed information to enable them to make informed decisions on how they route traffic”.

Check out the latest speakers signed up to Freight in the City Birmingham on 1 March

More than 300 visitors have now registered to attend Freight in the City Spring Summit ‘Improving the last mile’ on 1 March in Birmingham.

The seminar programme is now confirmed with a strong line-up of speakers bringing together city officials and the logistics sector to promote sustainable urban freight movements.

Latest speakers joining the programme include RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding, presenting brand-new research investigating whether the surge in van traffic is the result of the online-shopping boom.

The research asks whether e-commerce is adding to congestion or actually reducing it as people do their buying from the comfort of their sofas rather than driving to the store?

Carrier Transicold’s Scott Dargan will examine the legislative changes related to the urban distribution of perishable produce and how transport refrigeration system manufacturers are rising to this challenge.

This will include insight into some of the latest and next-generation technologies which will help to minimise environmental impact, including the use of refrigerants with a lower global warming potential, alternative-fuel-powered refrigeration systems and engineless solutions.

You’ll also hear from Transport Systems Catapult about the importance of keeping pace with the latest data and technology developments bringing more efficiency to urban logistics.

“When we speak of the future innovations in freight logistics for urban areas, we mean the next few months rather than years; change is happening now, today,” said Andrew Traill, principal technologist, Transport Systems Catapult.

“If we want to prosper economically and if we want to resolve the challenges of urban growth and development, we have to embrace this change; and not just embrace and follow but, where we have expertise, we should also lead the way.”

Freight in the City Spring Summit is an ideal opportunity to network with your peers and make important new business connections, so why not take a look through the variety of organisations already registered to take part.

There will also be an exhibition of the latest equipment and services to make your city logistics operation run smoothly, as well as a small outdoor urban vehicle display area.

The event takes place on 1 March at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham. Make sure you reserve your free place to attend today!

Construction, cycle lanes, and next-day delivery demand adds to London congestion, MPs told

Walking zone and cycling lane provision has added to congestion in London at least temporarily, TfL told the Transport Committee this week.

However, it remains part of its long term strategy to tackle the capital’s chronic congestion.

In a written submission to the Transport Committee’s hearing on urban congestion, TFL said that the Congestion Charge Zone (CCZ) had been successful in reducing traffic volumes in central London since its introduction in 2003.

TfL said that although there has been an increase in the number of vans, construction vehicles and private hire vehicles since, overall traffic levels in the CCZ area have fallen since its inception.

“Despite this, congestion levels in the Congestion Charging Zone returned to similar levels seen before the scheme as a consequence of works to provide more road space for walking and cycling and improvements to public transport, urban realm and road safety,” the evidence adds.

TfL stated cycling and walking infrastructure is integral to its long term strategy of reducing traffic by reducing the amount of short, private car journeys undertaken in preference to the former.

However, Christopher Snelling, FTA head of national and regional policy echoed MP Rob Flello’s line of questioning at the previous session of the committee, argued the congestion generated by these works was not short-term.

Snelling told the committee that FTA members had reported, during a recent survey, “substantial increases” in traffic congestion in areas where cycling and walking zones had been introduced.

Van traffic

TfL’s submission also forecast that trips by vans, which constitute 80% of freight road kilometres in London, compared to 20% by HGVs, will rise by more than a quarter (26%) by 2031.

“This represents 77% of the total growth in vehicle trips forecast for London as a whole. Over the same period, the number of  HGV kilometres are forecast to stay the same,” TfL said.

TfL called for a co-ordinated  and consistent approach from all players in the freight supply chain in order to minimise the impact of freight journeys on congestion.

It laid out a three pronged plan to cut freight trips into the city, shift freight trips to less congested times and use “the safest and cleanest vehicle, with an appropriately trained driver” for each delivery.

Consumer demand

Sam Clarke, director at Gnewt Cargo (pictured), which uses electric vans to operate final mile deliveries, pointed to rise in same day deliveries as a major reason for the rising numbers of vans in the city.

He called on retailers to step up to the plate, pointing out there were no retailers present at the hearing.

“Very rarely are retailers at any of these conversations and that is a piece that is lacking because there is no such thing as free delivery. We are all paying for it.

“We just can’t see what we are paying for and that element is creating a consumer purchasing scenario that is distorting the market. That ‘buy now, get it in an hour’ mentality is contributing to this increase in congestion.”

Tom Cherrett, professor of transport and logistics management at Southampton University, echoed this view, suggesting that the congestion charge in London be graded in a way that charged extra for deliveries into the city at certain times.

Congestion is estimated to cost London’s economy an estimated £5bn a year, according to TfL.

 

 

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Electric-powered cycle or foot trailer to be trialled for last-mile deliveries

Trials are to take place of a new electric-powered trailer that will enable cycle or foot couriers to deliver large quantities of parcels in urban areas.

Technology being deployed on the trailer is termed ‘net neutral’, so the weight of the trailer is not felt by the handler, allowing for increased volumes of last-mile deliveries by foot or cycling.

The project team said use of such trailers would decrease van usage in urban areas, thereby reducing both emissions and congestion.

It could also lead to increased parcel drop rates and more flexibility in delivery routes.

Six trailers can be dropped into a busy city centre by a single van, allowing the trailer system to cover a large urban area.

The trailer is to be developed through the Low Impact City Logistics project, which is part of a £10m research investment by Innovate UK for collaborative R&D to improve end-to-end people and freight journeys.

A consortium led by development consultancy Fernhay, will partner with tech firm Skotkonung and the University of Huddersfield to develop the prototype, which will be tested in Cambridge by cycle logistics operator Outspoken Delivery.

Robin Haycock, director of Fernhay, said: “Delivering increasing volumes of parcels to people in dense urban environments, whilst minimising the environmental effects and saving money, is the solution that we hope to deliver with our trailer system.”

Rob King, MD at Outspoken Delivery, added: “We have over 10 years experience in cycle-based delivery and have seen huge leaps in innovation in the last few years which has contributed to cycle-based delivery being seen as a demonstrable solution to the environmental problems associated with deliveries in urban areas.”

Following successful operation of the prototype, live trials will be carried out by UPS this spring in London’s Mayfair, one of the densest delivery areas in the capital.

Peter Harris, UPS director of sustainability EMEA, said: “UPS has always prided itself on its market-leading sustainability schemes, and the Low Impact City Logistics project is no different. The UK is one of UPS’s leading markets in terms of environmental initiatives, and is a natural fit for the trial of this exciting venture.”

  • UPS director of sustainability, EMEA, Peter Harris and Outspoken Delivery will both be speaking at ‘Freight in the City Spring Summit: Improving the last mile’ on 1 March in Birmingham. Register now for your free place to attend.

Could freight operators face usage-based road charging to deliver into London?

Freight operators delivering into the capital could face a new road-pricing regime that aims to charge higher rates the more time a vehicle spends in a peak congestion zone within the busiest hours of the day.

In a new report released yesterday, London Stalling, the London Assembly’s transport committee called for a complete overhaul of the current congestion charge and proposed a series of measures for TfL to implement to tackle gridlocked steets.

Lib-Dem MP Caroline Pidgeon (pictured), chair of the assembly’s transport committee, said the current congestion charge is “a blunt instrument using old technology that covers a tiny part of London”.

Caroline_Pidgeon“Fundamentally, vehicles should be charged according to their impact on congestion,” she added.

In the short-term it is suggested that the congestion charge is reformed with the flat daily rate replaced with a structure that ensures vehicles in the zone during peak times and spending longer inside it face the highest fees.

In the longer term, the assembly urges the mayor to develop a citywide charging regime, which could potentially replace vehicle excise duty if devolved from central government to London.

Freight focus

Goods vehicles, particularly vans, have been selected as a priority sector to tackle to reduce congestion in London.

The report said the increase in commercial traffic is a result of trends such as the boom in e-commerce and rising levels of construction activity in the city.

Vans make up around 80% of commercial traffic in London and are responsible for the bulk of the recent growth in freight journeys, according to the report: increasing from 3.8 to 4.2 billion km per year since 2012 (11%) as opposed to HGVs that have remained fairly stable at around one billion km per year.

The fact that van growth has outstripped lorry growth is attributed to a surge in London’s population and economy.

The report also suggests restrictions placed on HGVs and booming internet sales are playing a part.

A usage-based road charging scheme is therefore seen as an effective method to encourage operators to “use vehicles more efficiently or switch some deliveries to modes that cause less congestion, including rail, waterways, bicycles and motorcycles”.

transdek-night-timeOther methods to reduce CV traffic include better use of consolidation centres, with their use a requirement of planning permission to encourage take-up or promoted via Business Improvement Districts; and more night-time deliveries, with TfL encouraged to align congestion-busting objectives with the current review of the London Lorry Control Scheme.

Workplace parcel deliveries

Managing personal deliveries to London-based workplaces is also a challenge to overcome, with TfL urged to pilot a ban on such deliveries at its own sites, while making a better business case for the use of Click & Collect facilities at Tube stations and ensure they are open to multiple retailers and freight operators.

Pidgeon said: “Gridlocked London needs to start moving again and tinkering here and there is not going to achieve that. A total rethink about who uses our roads and how is imperative to get the veins and arteries of our great city flowing freely again.”

Operators have no choice

The FTA has responded to today’s announcement with concerns over the complexity of a road pricing scheme and the cost impact on London’s businesses and freight operators.

Questioning the survey of car users in the capital that said more than half were in favour of road charging, Christopher Snelling, FTA head of national & regional policy and public affairs, said: “The Assembly surveyed car drivers to see if they would change behaviour but not commercial operators.

“Unlike car drivers, we don’t operate at a time of our choosing but respond to customers’ requirements – ie the needs of London’s businesses.Christopher Snelling

“If road pricing is not just to be a tax on London it needs to focus on those who have an alternative – mainly the car or taxi user.  Water, rail and cycle logistics can all play a useful role in places but even used to the maximum it does not change the fact that the vast majority of deliveries in London will be made by vans and lorries.”

The FTA welcomed the focus on reforming the London Lorry Control Scheme, as well as the proposals for more consolidation centres and a workplace parking levy.

However, it also challenged the notion that the association of the growth in van use was down to logistics, saying that half of van use is by tradespeople with tools and the surge in the service sector.

Patrick Gallagher, chief executive at retail delivery firm On the dot, said: “Consumers are getting parcels delivered to their offices because not enough retailers are offering feasible alternatives.

“If we want to reduce the pressure on inner city deliveries – in addition to improving the customer experience – we should be giving shoppers the option to select fixed hour delivery time slots that fit with when they’re at home.”

Shared vision

Responding to the calls for action in today’s report, TfL said it welcomed the report and was pleased the assembly’s transport committee shared its commitment to improving London’s road network.

Garrett Emmerson, TfL’s chief operating officer for Surface Transport, said: “We are responding to this challenge by making the most efficient use of our limited space through encouraging walking, cycling and the use of public transport while protecting essential traffic.

CyclingLondonshutterstock“We and the Mayor are also working to tackle congestion by encouraging more efficient deliveries, doubling our bus priority programme and co-ordinating roadworks better.

“We’re also investigating the feasibility of removing the congestion charge exemption for private hire vehicles. We will fully consider this report’s recommendations as part of this wide-ranging work.”

TfL is asked to report back to the London Assembly on a range of the proposals by the end of April.

  • Why not head to Freight in the City Spring Summit on 1 March in Birmingham to find out how cities and the freight sector are working to make urban freight more sustainable. Book your free place today!

 

Registration open for Freight in the City Birmingham on 1 March

Registrations have now opened for the ‘Freight in the City Spring Summit: Improving the last mile’ on 1 March at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham.

This free-to-attend summit will focus on the need to think differently about how cities, businesses and operators approach last-mile deliveries to reduce freight’s impact on urban areas.

You’ll hear from major cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and Southampton about the challenges they’ve faced to mitigate the impact of essential goods deliveries to businesses and residents in urban areas.

These include mandated clean air zones that need to be in place by 2020, as well as a need to reduce conflict between goods vehicles and vulnerable users, and finding ways to tackle congestion on key routes into and around cities.

Leading researcher Laetitia Dablanc will share urban logistics best practice across Europe, complemented by seminars from major operators such as UPS and Meachers Global Logistics on their work to make inner city deliveries more sustainable.

Delegates will also take a look at some of the latest technology and delivery methods emerging to the marketplace, as well as the potential of modal switch to water, rail or bicycle for relieving pressure on the roads network.

There will also be the opportunity to ask questions via a lively panel debate on the challenge of persuading consumers to accept more sustainable methods of receiving their online purchases.

“This really is a must-attend event for local authorities, businesses and freight operators to learn from their peers about more sustainable ways to handle last-mile deliveries, demonstrating how cities and industry have worked collaboratively to ensure freight journeys are cleaner, safer and quieter,” said Hayley Pink, Freight in the City editor.

The spring summit is supported by the Urban Transport Group (UTG) and Transport for West Midlands.

Jonathan Bray, UTG director, said: “Getting last-mile logistics right forms part of a much wider debate about what kind of cities we want to live in and how we want them to look and feel.

“This conference presents a great opportunity to explore innovative solutions that enable last-mile journeys to be completed as safely, unobtrusively and with as little environmental impact as possible.”

  • Reserve your place now and browse through the speakers and exhibitors taking part, or to check out the organisations already signed up to attend.

Bike lanes could be increasing congestion, says MP

Labour MP Rob Flello questioned whether bike lanes are partly responsible for rising urban traffic congestion, during a transport select committee hearing this week.

Speaking at the committee’s Urban Traffic Congestion hearing, the  Stoke on Trent  South MP questioned why road users “have been driving fewer miles yet their journeys are taking longer.”

He suggested the “loss of tarmac” from building bike lanes, pavement improvement schemes and road works is a factor in causing traffic delays and argued that giving vehicles more road space “does more for air pollution in places such as London than getting people on to pushbikes”.

The MP asked the panel of experts attending the review: “Surely if traffic is being slowed down because some of the available tarmac is being removed and put to other purposes, or some of the tarmac is not available because of roadworks, surely one of the answers is to reinstate some of the tarmac that has been removed.

“It speeds up the traffic and perhaps does more for air pollution in places such as London than getting people on to pushbikes.”

Flello also questioned the use of “nudge” factors, such as bike and bus lanes to encourage motorists to switch to other forms of transport. “The load of steel and cement delivered to a site on a just-in-time basis, now that’s not going to be nudged onto a push bike,” he said.

Transport Committee member Graham Stringer, MP for Blackley and Broughton, also raised concern about using journey times to measure the effectiveness of bus lanes on traffic congestion.

“It’s not very helpful if you have an empty bus going more quickly,” Stringer said, and called for a better methodology which would measure passenger use as well as journey times and punctuality, “to assess whether they should remain.”

In a statement clarifying his stance on bike lanes this week, ahead of the committee hearing, Flello pointed to TfL research which shows  average traffic speeds in the centre of the capital fell to 7.8 mph last autumn.

“My fear is that a lot of it might be because of an increase in the impact of roadworks and the loss of tarmac for vehicles from the introduction of cycle lanes,” Flello said, and added: “Currently there’s a row going on between bike users who say they’re making things better, and road groups who believe cycle paths are crowding other vehicles out.

“I want to know if anyone’s done any credible research on the subject so we can get to the truth rather than constantly slinging mud.  It’s in everyone’s interests to know what’s really happening.”

What does the future hold for urban freight?

London at dawn

Urban logistics is impeded by congestion, a lack of kerbspace, the need for cleaner air and restrictions on size and noise, all against a backdrop of increased demand.

Freight is now higher on the agenda and helped by more inter-agency co-ordination than before, but progress is painstaking.

Worldwide, air pollution is said to kill more people than Aids and malaria combined, and it is certainly credited with a high death toll in some UK cities.

About 40,000 early deaths and a £27.5bn annual bill has seen ministers declaring air pollution a national emergency.

The government had planned to roll out Clean Air Zones (CAZ) in Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton by 2020.

The zones were graded A-E, with each adding a different traffic element: HGVs, buses, taxis and so on, but none of the original CAZ policies targeted the UK’s 12 million diesel cars.

Emissions measurements

However, the government now has to produce a much more aggressive plan for tackling air pollution after the High Court twice ruled that its current policies were so poor they were illegal.

The High Court found that the government was basing its policy on lab-based emissions measurements (typically on cars and vans) which it knew bore little resemblance to the levels of emissions pumped out in daily use, and that its timetable lacked urgency.

ClientEarth, the group of environmental lawyers that took the government to court, says it will now have to be far tougher on diesel. “Euro-6 was not what we thought it would be,” says a ClientEarth spokesperson.

Hard to defend

The government’s exclusion of cars from CAZs will be hard to defend.

A Leeds University study into Euro-6 cars following the VW scandal found that: “The latest generation of Euro-6 diesel cars do emit around 50% less NOx per kilometre of driving than their predecessors but still, on average, five times that permitted by the Euro-6 standard.”

air-qualityEuro-6 turned the spotlight on NOx. Pre-Euro-6 vans usually produce more NOx in order to make the diesel particulate filter work more efficiently.

Euro-6 vans add a NOx trap or SCR to cut NOx emissions, and while they are 40% better than Euro-5, according to the FTA, there is still a question mark over whether they achieve the test limits in real-world driving.

Reports by Ricardo, the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership and TfL all assert that heavy-duty Euro-6 vehicles are tested much more rigorously.

Ricardo says its heavy-duty engine testing on the road has shown emissions values between half and twice that of the allowable level, so “within extremely low conformity factors”.

The other possible outcome of the High Court ruling, which emphasised speed of implementation, is that the government resurrects its original plans for far more Clean Air Zones.

ClientEarth is calling for 16 CAZs across the UK by 2018 – something the FTA’s head of national and regional policy, Christopher Snelling, refers to as “the worst-case scenario”.

Snelling says it is hard to see diesel being acceptable anywhere on city streets by 2030. In the shorter term we will face Euro-7 but there is little more than informed speculation in terms of what will be included. CO2 will be a major focus, but NOx emissions are likely to be hammered down again as well as particulate matter (PM).

Changing behaviour

TfL senior strategy and planning manager Paul Strang says standards to push air quality improvements are “quicker and easier than measures to change behaviours”.

Andy Noble, head of heavy-duty engines at Ricardo, says: “It is almost always possible to go further in reducing emissions, and we are pursuing research on ultra-low NOx heavy-duty diesel and natural gas engines aimed at extremely low emissions of just 7% of Euro-6 for new standards in California.

“However,[with] NOx and PM we are possibly beginning to approach a stage of diminishing returns beyond Euro-6, where background pollution levels from industry and from older vehicles become the real problem.”

When emissions can go no lower and practical alternatives to diesel for heavy duty applications are still years off, what comes next?

Public policy can still focus on encouraging fleet renewal – perhaps with scrappage schemes – and encouraging after treatments. However, Strang’s reference to changing behaviours comes sharply into focus.

The historic policy focus on mitigation is increasingly giving way to reducing the demand for transport, which essentially means working with freight customers to change how and when they want their goods and effecting a range of consolidation techniques.

TfL’s freight and fleet project manager for retiming Jaz Chani admits most major retailers and logistics companies have long used consolidation as a natural efficiency measure.

Footing the bill

Consolidation centres themselves can reduce HGV movements but at the cost of greater van movements. They also rely upon businesses being prepared to co-operate on logistics and to foot the bill.

While there has been some notable progress in the public sector and construction, it remains to be seen whether other types of business will take this up.

Carbon emissionsTfL claims the use of a construction consolidation centre can cut journeys to site by 70%.

The RHA’s manager for infrastructure and security, Chrys Rampley, notes that such centres only work when adequate thought is given to access and queuing facilities for trucks.

Chani responds that the needs of freight are now being considered far more carefully in planning applications.

Rampley also says that the crucial element moving forwards will be engagement by freight customers and operators; and if any operator currently has an innovative solution, could they please share it?

Snelling warns that consolidation and retiming should not be imposed if they don’t genuinely improve efficiency. “Every politician thinks these will be a magic solution,” he says.

Previous policies have been distinctly limited in effect. The congestion charge “reduced traffic and bought space for an expanded bus network”, argues Strang.

However, the exclusion of taxis should signal a warning bell for future policies.

When the congestion charge was introduced in 2003 there were 22,500 black cabs in London.

The exact number of minicabs in 2003 is not known, but it definitely grew. In 2010, there were 50,000 minicabs and in 2015 there were 76,000, with 25,000 signed up to Uber alone: an unintended consequence of public policy.

Earlier this year the government refused once again to cap minicab numbers in the capital.

By Louise Cole

Cambridge City Council rules out rush-hour road closures and congestion charging to tackle traffic problems

Cambridge City Council has ruled out introducing a series of rush-hour road closures or imposing a congestion zone scheme as part of its efforts to tackle congestion in the city and surrounding area.

Following more than 10,000 responses from the public to Greater Cambridge City Deal’s eight point congestion busting plan published last year, there is little support for such measures.

However, Cambridge City Council said it would now look at whether introduction of a Clean Air Zone in the city would be an effective way to tackle air pollution.

Cambridge City councilor Lewis Herbert, said: “A city-wide congestion charge for people travelling in, and for residents, is not proposed for very similar reasons. Too many individual and business journeys would be unnecessarily affected and it will unduly hurt low income city and South Cambridgeshire residents.

“Instead, officer proposals add two targeted measures to reduce vehicles entering central Cambridge and increase bus reliability. First, local interventions in the most congested areas of central Cambridge and second, a potential Clean Air Zone option to cut vehicle air pollution.”