Mayor to explore freight ban or charging in bid to improve London’s roads

Boris Johnson has called on TfL to identify the “potential benefits and challenges” of a freight ban or charge on HGVs in central London during peak times.

His directive comes shortly after the London Assembly members voted unanimously to introduce a rush-hour lorry ban in the capital.

The feasibility work will form part of a package of reform measures aimed at ensuring the long-term success of the capital’s roads.

More than 90% of freight in London is transported by road, with goods vehicles accounting for 30% of traffic during morning rush-hour.

The mayor has asked TfL to look at better ways of managing freight, such as options for banning or charging certain vehicles at certain times of the day, and more incentives to encourage use of consolidation centres.

In addition, TfL will look to streamline payments for the various charging schemes that already apply in London such as the LEZ and Congestion Charge, as well as future tolls proposed for the Blackwall Tunnel and new Silvertown tunnel.

This would be combined with a proposal to devolve the £500m in VED paid by Londoners each year to enable TfL to spend the revenue on local roads, as it is currently spent on the Strategic Road Network outside of the capital.

A network of smaller tunnels and ‘flyunders’ will also be explored to relieve congestion and free up land.

One million extra road trips per day are being added to the London’s transport network every five years, with the do-nothing scenario seeing congestion boosted by 60% over the next 15 years in central London, 25% in inner London and 15% in outer London.

A report produced by New London Architecture, in collaboration with TfL, looks at the history of the capital’s road network and proposes a number of possibilities to improve streets for the future.

It suggests that drawing upon the experiences of other European cities “grappling” with the challenges of air quality, safety and congestion could be useful for London: “For example, Paris, Warsaw and Madrid have introduced bans for HGVs within their central areas. The largest scheme, in Paris, was introduced in 2007 to tackle poor air quality, and operates between 5pm and 10pm.”

Lib-Dem mayoral hopeful Caroline Pidgeon last month called for a rush-hour HGV ban as part of her proposed freight strategy for London.








Liberal Democrat London mayor hopeful Pidgeon backs rush-hour HGV ban

Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon has called for a peak-time ban on HGVs in central London as part of a package of measures to reduce road freight movements in the capital.

If elected, Pidgeon wants to launch a new freight strategy for London that includes incentives for switching commercial deliveries to cargo bikes where appropriate, and encourages use of greener vehicles and the sharing of good practice across the industry.

She has lent her support to the recently passed London Assembly motion that called for a rush-hour ban on HGVs inside the congestion charging zone, subject to TfL’s impact assessment.

“We know that seven out of eight cycling fatalities in London this year involved collisions with lorries and that 40% of cycling fatalities involving lorries occur in the morning rush hour.

“Not only do HGVs tend to clog up the roads in central London, they are also dangerous for cyclists. Some form of peak time HGV ban, including construction traffic, could help ease congestion and make London’s roads safer,” Pidgeon said.

Making the switch to cargo bikes is also high on Pidgeon’s wish list, to try and mitigate the increase in van usage within the capital, which TfL predicts to rise by 22% between 2011 and 2030.

She said that research suggested 25% of commercial deliveries could be carried out by cargo bikes, which would help relieve freight traffic’s “considerable contribution” to London’s congestion challenge.

Consolidation centres would also play a larger role should Pidgeon be elected mayor, which she said played a successful part in the delivery of the London 2012 Olympics.

“The concept is that rather than everyone using their own vehicles to make deliveries to their final destinations in congested areas, a hub is created in a low congestion area where deliveries are brought to, before being redistributed or consolidated in a lower number of vehicles that then make the final part of the journey in a far more efficient way,” she said.

Pidgeon said consolidation centres have already been developed in some London boroughs since 2012, so “logistics know-how is being advanced”.

The consolidation centre at the Port of Tilbury could be used to increase the use of the River Thames for transporting freight, for example.

“We need to further develop and expand the use of consolidation centres so that it becomes far more comprehensive and includes a much larger proportion of light goods vehicle traffic,” Pidgeon added.







International partnership aims to halve road freight’s CO2 emissions by 2050

A new international partnership focused on tackling road freight emissions was launched at last month’s COP21 climate change forum in Paris.

Its aim is to explore the “currently untapped and unmapped potential” for reducing emissions through better fleet optimisation and collaboration between road freight operators.

Truck manufacturer Scania, operators Nestlé and UPS and optimisation firm Route Monkey have all signed up to the Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative (LCTPi), which aims to help meet a science-based target of a 48% drop in absolute emissions between 2010 and 2050.

The partnership is led by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and will see companies developing a series of emission-reduction programmes during 2016.

This will be followed by real-world testing in 2017 and 2018.

Ideas being explored include improving the accessibility of the latest fleet optimisation tools to SME operators, co-optimisation of multiple fleet movements through a common ICT platform, and the sharing of assets such as distribution centres and fleet vehicles.

Scania said enhancements in vehicle connectivity and the digitalisation of fleets would play a key role in improving future road freight efficiencies.

“Digitalisation will provide road haulage and transport buyers with a strong tool to take control of the entire logistic chain in order to optimise transport flows,” said Urban Wästljung, senior adviser at Scania.

“Connectivity in combination with new vehicle technology and renewable energy is a game changer in the transition to a sustainable transport system,” he said.

He added that in addition to optimised route and load planning, connectivity can also help reduce CO2 emissions through boosting fuel efficiency and improving driver performance.

Colin Ferguson, CEO of Route Monkey, said: “Route Monkey’s optimisation already today cuts carbon emissions and overheads by up to 20% for more than 400 fleet customers.

“By combining selected fleets through this WBCSD initiative, we will from next year enable additional efficiency improvements of 15% with diesel, and up to 60% with alternative fuels.”

Alan Gershenhorn, executive vice president and chief commercial officer for UPS, added: “With a recent International Transport Forum study projecting that freight volumes could quadruple by 2050, the initiative is an important catalyst to spearhead solutions to help manage and mitigate transport sector emissions.”

The WBCSD said the transport sector produces around 23% of total energy-related CO2 emissions.

Greenhouse gas emissions from transport are one of the fastest growing sectors, while emissions from freight transport have been growing even more rapidly than those from passenger transport.

This is expected to continue to be the case, particularly in emerging and developing economies.



London Assembly investigating impact of van deliveries in the capital

The London Assembly is seeking views on the impact of the rising number of delivery vans on the capital’s roads.

In a survey launched last week, the assembly’s transport committee is seeking feedback on how vans contribute to traffic congestion, air quality and safety in London.

It also wants to understand which alternative delivery methods businesses and residents would consider and how much they would be willing to pay for more sustainable logistics.

This would include options such as Click & Collect, consolidation centres with last-mile delivery in a zero-emission vehicles and a move to enable more out-of-hours deliveries in London.

According to figures from Transport for London (TfL), light commercial traffic makes up 13% of all London’s road traffic, compared with 4% for HGVs and 1.7% for buses.

During the morning peak, this equates to around 7,300 vans per hour and 21.5% of traffic km.

Light commercial traffic is expected to increase by 22% between 2011 and 2031, while HGV traffic will remain static, which is attributed to the continued growth of online shopping.

Last week’s survey is the latest stage in a wider investigation underway by the London Assembly on the light commercial vehicle sector in the capital, which aims to work with all stakeholders to explore more sustainable delivery methods. It will be used to help shape TfL’s freight strategy.

The survey closes on 31 December.




Quiet & Efficient seminars draw the crowds at Freight in the City Expo

Last week’s Freight in the City Expo in London held a series of seminars exploring how urban logistics operations would need to evolve to service cities of the future, and looked at initiatives in place today that are already helping to drive this change.

David Beeton, MD of Urban Foresight, highlighted that London sees 280,000 freight journeys every day, compared with just 25,000 van deliveries a day in Amsterdam. “Companies need to create integrated urban platforms” – such as shared user consolidation hubs – to reduce the volume of freight, he said.

Gloria Elliot (pictured), chief executive of the Noise Abatement Society, discussed quiet vehicle technology and said that delivery vehicles so quiet that no one can hear them are “not so far away”. Quieter engines and roll cages were among the technologies she listed as already changing the face of night-time deliveries. However, she added, the country needs more government incentives to encourage and further this work.

In a session on rethinking traditional deliveries, the FTA’s head of urban logistics Christopher Snelling discussed the threat of a London lorry ban. “Needless to say,” he told delegates, “the FTA is opposed to the idea.” He added that while there is “no magic fix” for the pressing issue of cyclist and HGV collisions in the capital, a switch to vans could prove just as dangerous, if not more so to cyclists because of the increased number of vehicles this would put on the roads.

Freddie Talberg, chief executive of Pie Mapping, discussed how restrictions on freight in London can cause confusion and, subsequently, ineffective route planning. He cited an example in which operator Wincanton had been using a 25-mile route around the city to reach a second delivery point that was just a couple of miles away.

In the collaboration session, Mark Fell, divisional manager for sustainable mobility at Transport and Travel Research, explained how a business model could be made around consolidating retail loads to town centres. He said that for it to function as a business model, however, the option should be given to public sector users first and retailers second because they have shorter decision-making chains and are “more into the sustainability agenda”.

Sean Kelly, director of strategic solutions at Wilson James, spoke on what a consolidation centre can offer construction projects. He said the construction industry had an outdated understanding of the logistics industry, and that further understanding and planning would assist construction projects immeasurably.

Paul Davison, principal consultant for sustainable freight and logistics at Aecom, explained how an active freight quality partnership can provide an ideal platform for businesses, operators and authorities to communicate about freight and protect the sustainable movement of goods, adding that they will be instrumental in the government’s Northern Powerhouse agenda.

The final collection of talks addressed final-mile delivery and problems that arise in cities in the final stages of the delivery process.

Rob King from cycle courier Outspoken Deliveries told delegates that cities are set to become increasingly pedestrianised, and put forward bicycle delivery couriers as a way to keep cities moving in this scenario.

Natalie Chapman, head of policy for London from the FTA, gave advice to hauliers on handling parking penalty charge notices (PCNs). She said operators should keep a record of where PCNs have been awarded and use the data to identify their PCN “hot spots”, and tackle the issue from there by looking for alternative times or locations, or contact the local traffic authority.

Freight in the City Expo took place on 27 October at London’s Alexandra Palace.

Transdek to showcase its latest urban double-deck trailer for Eddie Stobart at Freight in the City

Transdek UK is exhibiting its latest urban double deck trailer for Eddie Stobart at the Freight in the City Expo next month at London’s Alexandra Palace.

The company said the trailer can carry 100% more load than conventional forms of urban freight transport and offers the capability to cut delivery frequencies in half, reducing congestion, noise and pollution.

Freight in the City is a free-to-attend one-day expo that will bring together local authorities, suppliers and freight transport operators to explore ways to make goods deliveries in urban centres as clean, safe and quiet as possible.

Transdek has recognised a growing economic, as well as environmental, pressure to incorporate new strategies to reduce congestion on the roads.

This was highlighted in a recent whitepaper published by INRIX and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) suggests that, in comparison to the USA, Germany and France, by 2030, the UK will see the highest annual rise in the cost of congestion (at 66%), with a cost to the country of over £21bn a year. London is expected to have the fastest growing levels of congestion out of all cities included in the study.

Transdek’s range of urban double-deck trailers carry up to 54 roll cages or 30 pallets, twice that of a typical 18-tonne or 26-tonne rigid, which the company said can create the opportunity to slash emissions and congestion by a much as 50%.

This additional volumetric capacity is achieved within the same height profile, or lower, as a standard single-deck trailer, while the company said the unit’s standard external length of 10.6m is more manoeuvrable than equivalent rigid trucks. It has also developed rear door and tail-lift designs specifically adapted for the urban environment, which offer a safer, quieter and more secure operation.

Tony Sturgess, head of trailer design at Transdek UK, said the urban double-decker is ideal for retail outlets that do not have the capacity to take a full trailer delivery as it provides the ability for efficient multi-drop deliveries. The potential for this to increase efficiencies on collaborative projects between groups of retailers operating out of urban consolidation centres is also “really exciting”, he added.

“Most operators think that loads should be consolidated out of town, with onward deliveries in small trucks and vans. This is an effective way of increasing vehicle fill and reducing the number of vehicles on urban roads, but will still leave a growing number of low-volume freight vehicles on the streets. However quiet and green these vehicles are, this will not help the issue of congestion,” explained Sturgess.

“Transdek’s approach is different. We believe that volume is the core component to increasing overall logistics efficiency and reducing congestion. If each urban double-deck trailer on the roads is able to remove one rigid, or several smaller trucks, this opens up the potential to really tackle future congestion issues.”

  • Book your free place today at Freight in the City and join hundreds of your industry peers at Alexandra Palace, London, on Tuesday 27 October.

FREVUE partners seek to boost number of electric freight vehicles and urban consolidation hubs following promising trials

Partners in the European FREVUE project are looking to boost the number of electric vehicles in their fleets and open new urban consolidation centres following promising demonstrator trial results.

FREVUE (Freight Electric Vehicles in Urban Europe), led by the Cross River Partnership (CRP), is an initiative spanning several major European cities that aims to encourage uptake of cleaner, more efficient movement of freight to enhance urban environments for those who live and work there.

The project comprises of 30 European partners concentrated around the cities of Amsterdam, Lisbon, Madrid, Milan, Oslo, Rotterdam, Stockholm and London.

To date, more than 50 vehicles have been procured and delivered across the FREVUE demonstration cities.  Of these, 11 were delivered in London with another six vehicles expected to be operational by October 2015.

Partners taking part in the London trial include Westminster City Council, UPS, UK Power Networks, Imperial College, Transport for London, Arup, the Crown Estate, the Greater London Authority as well as other central London local authorities and Business Improvement Districts.

Based on their positive experience with electric freight vehicles in the project, several partners now want to enlarge their fleets beyond the original target:  in Lisbon, CTT (the Portuguese national postal service) will add another 30 vehicles to their electric freight fleet over the next three years while EMEL (Lisbon’s municipal parking company) will procure six additional vehicles. In Amsterdam, Heineken decided to introduce two more vehicles than originally foreseen.

CRP said these encouraging developments are due to the positive feedback from the electric freight vehicles in operation so far. Overall, the performance of the vehicles is good and most are fully integrated into daily operations. Feedback from drivers remains largely positive with reduced noise levels of the vehicles significantly improving their well-being.

In addition to further vehicles, two new construction consolidation centres (CCCs) are to be developed at large building sites in Stockholm. Both have been inspired by the CCC at the Royal Seaport Area that is part of the FREVUE project.

FREVUE is an urban e-mobility project supported by the European Commission that seeks to demonstrate to industry, consumers and policy-makers how electric vehicles can meet the growing need for sustainable urban logistics.


Transport for London explores options to boost road capacity through more strategic freight journeys

Transport for London (TfL) hopes to increase capacity on London’s road network by encouraging the use of freight consolidation centres and urging the retiming of deliveries to commercial and domestic premises.

Paul Strang, TfL’s senior strategy and planning manager (freight and fleet), told delegates at this week’s Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum UK freight policy seminar that TfL is looking at ways of reducing the freight sector’s demand for the road network as the city’s population grows.

Strang said 90% of goods being moved in the capital are done so using the road network, with few operators taking advantage of rail and water.

“Almost a third, 29%, of central London morning traffic relates to goods vehicles, so HGVs or vans, which disproportionally peaks in the morning when the roads are perhaps least able to cope with it,” he said. “When you look at the whole day [freight’s share of the traffic] becomes around 16- 17%.”

Like most cities across the UK, London has seen an increase in the number of vans on its roads and Strang expects this to continue over the next decade. HGV numbers, however, are not expected to grow.

Strang suggested there was an opportunity to better utilise the rail and river networks, but said reducing the “frustration” of missed deliveries was at the other end of the spectrum.

He added: “Maybe the solution is specifying larger sizes of letterboxes and retiming deliveries to domestic premises.

“It’s not about reducing the amount of stuff we buy, but how we can get that same amount of stuff delivered in fewer road kilometres.”

Strang added that the capital’s existing consolidation centres had been a success in taking goods vehicle traffic off the road. However, he questioned how TfL would be able to develop enough of them to take the necessary amount of road trips out of the network.

He said: “London’s a rapidly growing city…it will grow by a further 1.7m people by 2030. In terms of scale, that’s equivalent to adding cities the size of Birmingham and Leeds to what is already London’s biggest population.

“We want our freight strategy to balance these two things off. We need to look at how we get goods and services delivered in the city at a fair cost to consumers.”


Cleaner freight to play its part in delivering government’s air quality strategy

Cleaner freight deliveries will play an important role in helping the government achieve the aims set out in its draft national air quality strategy launched this week.

A series of national and local measures have been combined to create a UK action plan to bring levels of nitrogen dioxide within EU legal limits by 2020, or by 2025 in Greater London.

Road transport remains the dominant source of pollution in areas where the UK is exceeding European legal NO2 limits, producing around 80% of harmful emissions.

This is despite an average 15% reduction in roadside NO2 emissions since 2010.

However significantly more action is now needed to reach EU air quality compliance, particularly in major cities such as London, Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Southampton and Derby.

Plans released for consultation this week outline how new, green technology can be used to create communities where people want to live and work, boosting the economy and make the UK a world leader in low-emission technology.

Local authorities facing particular challenges are encouraged to explore action such as creating Clean Air Zones, introducing low-emission buses and taxis, and using intelligent data to inform new road layouts and tackle congestion.

Central and local government will also be incentivised through funding and new procurement frameworks to ensure they lead by example and include low-emission vehicles among their own urban fleets and insist on greener vehicles in tender documents.

Freight grants would remain available to encourage modal shift to rail or water where possible, which has so far removed 800,000 lorry journeys from the UK’s roads annually.

Further air quality benefits are also expected as operators continue the move towards Euro V1 vehicles on their fleets, or the retrofitting of clean technology to older vehicles.

In addition, the data continuing to be gathered from the Low Carbon Truck Trial launched in 2010 will help the government understand the environmental benefits of running natural gas and dual-fuel HGVs, as well as establishing a national network of refuelling points.

Further trials specifically into developing a test protocol for measuring the greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions from dual-fuel vehicles (gas/diesel) or dedicated gas HGVs are also planned for 2015/2016.

The government’s 10-year longer semi-trailer trial of 14.6m and 15.65m vehicles will also continue, with revised estimations of carbon emissions saved by the end of the trial now standing at 3,000 tonnes. To date, 1,614 of the allocated 1,800 longer trailers are already on the road.

Finally, to encourage uptake of alternative-fuel vehicles by operators that may have been put off by the weight penalty the technology attracts, the government will now seek to allow an extra one tonne for HGVs using alternative powertrains. It will launch a consultation later this year to extend the new permitted weight levels allowed for international journeys introduced to EU Directive to 96/53/EC in May this year, to domestic operations.

The government will also look to encourage the use of urban consolidation centres and last-mile deliveries on low-emission vehicles in major towns and cities.

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said: “The move towards embracing clean technology – including the government’s ambition that almost every car and van on our roads will be zero emission by 2050 – will be incentivised by at least £200m of government grants for plug-in cars and vans and £50m of support for local authorities and transport operators to convert their taxis and clean up bus fleets. The move will also generate new jobs and significantly boost our growing economy.”

A consultation on the draft air quality strategy will run until 6 November.


Registration now live for free-of-charge Freight in the City Expo in October

Registration is now live for this autumn’s free-to-attend Freight in the City Expo at London’s Alexandra Palace on Tuesday 27 October.

The event comprises a full seminar programme split into three core zones – Clean; Safe; and Quiet & Efficient – as well as a major exhibition area complete with guided tours.

A top line-up of vehicle manufacturers including Mercedes-Benz / FUSO Canter, Daf, Volvo, IsuzuIveco and Dennis Eagle will be showcasing their latest urban vehicle designs, while technology and trailer firms such as Transdek, Paragon and Route Monkey will demonstrate how to enhance existing fleet operations.

Seminars will focus on highlighting best practice examples of getting goods into city centres in a clean, quiet and safe manner, with an impressive line-up of industry experts and academic leaders on hand to highlight successful initiatives taking place across Europe.

The expo is organised by Motor Transport publisher Road Transport Media, which last year hosted the successful Quiet Cities Global Summit at Twickenham Stadium.

It is a must-attend event for anyone involved in procuring, delivering or receiving freight in an urban location.

Registration is free of charge and you can also sign up to receive fortnightly alerts of the latest urban logistics news.

A full list of exhibitors is available to view, along with a floorplan of the event.