Paragon’s smart mapping software can boost speed and precision of urban deliveries

Paragaon is offering three smarter mapping options that enable transport planners to make vehicle routing and scheduling as precise as possible in dense, urban logistics operations.

Street Level Mapping, Average Road Speed Data and Truck Attribute Data all provide planners with a highly detailed picture of the road network, allowing for the faster creation of more accurate and realistic plans, which Paragon said can reduce mileage and fuel costs as well as improve the accuracy of delivery times.

“When producing a transport plan, customers want to get as close as possible to reality,” said William Salter, MD, Paragon Software Systems. “Detailed data including the average road speeds attainable on a specific route, or weight, height, width and length data overlaid on a map, all help the planner to quickly and easily build feasible routes with more accurate arrival times, resulting in happier customers and drivers alike.”

Paragon Street Level Mapping includes all residential streets and minor roads, as well as turning restrictions, such as no left or right turn. Schedules can be planned to the nearest second and metre. The company said the software is ideal for improving routing and optimising schedules in dense urban transport operations, such as those found in the home delivery sector.

Average Road Speed Data improves the precision of routing and scheduling with a truer reflection of real travel times. It provides a calculated average speed in each direction on all road links for which there is sufficient speed data, based on analysis of billions of road speed observations.

Paragon Truck Attribute Data can help prevent detours and reduce mileage by taking into account height, weight, width and length restrictions, including the calculation of plans that avoid low bridges when using high vehicles.

The routing firm said its customers using these services have found that the number of vehicles can be reduced while still making the same number of deliveries, driver shifts per day are decreased, and hours on duty can be reduced. “By reducing mileage and providing more accurate plans, drivers find that the transport plans created with these modules are much more achievable, and allow them to more readily meet their customer service goals,” added Salter.

  • Paragon will be exhibiting at this month’s Freight in the City Expo at Alexandra Palace on Tuesday 27 October. Book your free place at this exciting event dedicated to making your urban logistics operation more sustainable.


West London Boroughs collaborate to create new sustainable freight strategy

Development of a new freight strategy to improve the safety, efficiency and sustainability of goods movements across west London is underway.

The West London Freight Strategy is being devised by transport consultancy Aecom on behalf of the WestTrans Partnership, which is formed of the six west London Boroughs of Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon and Hounslow.

The purpose of the freight strategy is to create a series of measures to boost efficiency and drive down freight miles across the boroughs by tackling key challenges:

  • Improve air quality
  • Improve road safety
  • Reduce congestion
  • Support economic growth, but manage freight transport demand
  • Improve vehicle energy efficiency
  • Increase business efficiency

A series of workshops have been held to bring together the boroughs, businesses and freight operators to discuss the challenges.

The latest was held last month at Palletline’s Perivale depot, which enabled all parties to experience a tour of a logistics depot and hear about the issues affecting operators in the local area.

Workshop attendees also learned about a number of efficiency measures that could be implemented into their freight operations, such as computerised routing and scheduling, driver training, alternative modes to road transport, aerodynamics, telematics and retiming deliveries.

An emphasis was also placed on how zero-emission vehicle technology could be used in urban areas to improve air quality, with final-mile specialist Gnewt Cargo demonstrating how electric vans and cargo trikes could be used to make cleaner deliveries to residents and businesses in city centres.

Paul Davison, principal consultant for sustainable freight and logistics, Aecom, said the event received a very positive reaction and provided a good insight into how cleaner technology and more efficient practices could be incorporated into logistics operations.

It also opened up discussions on how local authorities could provide incentives to encourage uptake of new technology and helped break down misconceptions over range, vehicle reliability and charging points.

One final workshop will take place at the end of this month/early November, with any interested businesses or freight operators encouraged to take part. The completed strategy is expected to be delivered by the end of this year. For more information please contact Tim Forrester on

WestTrans Partnership is also carrying out a range of projects across the six boroughs, including the use of Delivery and Service Plans to slash congestion and an Air Quality Cluster Group to develop mapping routes.

  • Aecom’s Paul Davison will be speaking about the important role that freight quality partnerships can play in bringing together local authorities and operators to make goods movements more sustainable at the Freight in the City Expo this month. Book your free place today!


Local authorities and freight firms can join forces and tap into £10m funding pot for end-to-end journey schemes

A £10m funding pot is available for collaborative R&D projects that will help drive down congestion by improving the end-to-end journey of freight and people.

The competition, launched by Innovate UK, is looking at proposals that enable a user to select a complete journey, whether for goods or as a passenger, from one starting point to a final end point and be offered transport options with different profiles, costs and schedules.

Innovate said transport plays a pivotal role in the country’s economy, however, network congestion and overcrowding are indicators that saturation point has been reached.

Traffic congestion, of which 40% of this gridlock is in London, is predicted to cost the UK economy £300bn over the next 16 years. It is believed that a 5% reduction is businesses’ travel on the roads alone could generate around £2.5bn of cost savings.

The UK’s increasing population is also leading to higher demand for goods entering the logistics chain. A key priority for the UK is intermodality and interoperability within freight and logistics, whereby goods can be transferred seamlessly between modes due to simple processes and the use of standard loading units, such as swap bodies.

To improve the UK’s existing transport systems, Innovate UK is focusing on two broad themes: optimisation and increasing useable capacity; and demand reduction. The ‘Enhancing the end-to-end journey’ competition will focus on optimisation.

Consortia comprising local authorities and service providers are expected to work together to cover at least one of the three key challenges:

  • Network and data connectivity within modes and to users – for example, economic incentives for a collaborative culture across the transport industry to promote industry-to-industry engagement and business models.
  • Infrastructure – for example, working with freight operators to find new ways to move a larger range of freight more swiftly using national and international services, including ways to address rise in e-commerce deliveries and novel approaches to freight sharing.
  • Customer interaction and experience – for example, development of personalised and profiled mobility planning, including a network focus optimised by load balancing.

Projects lasting between one and three years must be collaborative and led by a business, with small companies potentially receiving up to 70% of their eligible project costs, medium firms up to 60% and large ones up to 50%. Costs are expected to range from £250,000 up to £3m.

The deadline for expressions of interest is noon on 18 November. The second stage deadline for invited applications is noon on 21 January 2016. Applications are assessed by an independent pane of experts.

Further information and Guidance for Applicants is available online.

Cross River Partnership wins funding for initiatives to improve city logistics across Europe

Cross River Partnership (CRP) has been awarded more than €90,000 to develop improvements in city logistics across a number of European cities over the next six months.

The ‘Freight TAILS’ (tailored approaches implementing lasting solutions) project will address the challenges posed by increasing freight movements within an urban environment.

Project aims are to establish whether different approaches to issues surrounding the delivery and servicing activity in urban areas are required for different areas within cities, to achieve continuous real improvements in greenhouse gas emissions and therefore air quality and traffic management.

Action plans will be established to develop sustainable urban logistics approaches – such as micro/consolidation, SME co-ordination, retiming deliveries, efficient road space allocation – in specific urban areas. These could include areas of high multi-tenanted office blocks and high street retail areas; areas dominated by single user activity, such as a university campus or public sector administration; and historic central areas.

Business cases for different approaches, data on greenhouse gas emissions and traffic improvements, and recommendations for implementation will be key elements of the action plans.

The CRP is keen to hear from any city that has an interest in this topic, in particular cities from less developed regions experiencing issues in relation to delivery and servicing activities.

Funding was awarded under the URBACT III programme and will support the development of a larger bid (up to €750,000) for the project to be implemented 2016 – 2018.

Freight TAILS Phase 1 is led by CRP in partnership with Maastricht (The Netherlands), Parma (Italy), Plascencia (Spain), and Suceava (Romania). Over the course of the next six months, it aims to expand the partnership to total up to 12 European cities for the full Phase 2 application.

For more information on Freight TAILS please contact Charlotte Knell, CRP project manager,


EU discusses best way to regulate drones

The European Transport Committee has drafted a report into the best way to regulate unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) without stifling investment in the expanding sector.

It is a rapidly evolving market, with commercial use of drones in different sectors being explored globally.

For example, earlier this month, Finnish courier firm Posti launched a four-day trial of using drones in an e-commerce operation to deliver packages to a populated, urban town.

A robotic helicopter flew goods of a suitable dimension between Helsinki on the mainland to the island of Suomenlinna, a Unesco World Heritage Site. The company said it was the first European trial to use a drone to deliver packages in an urban area.

“What we have seen over the last 15 years is a huge growth in this industry,” said MEP Jacqueline Foster. “Civil drones are being used to check crops in the fields, to look at humanitarian disasters, forest fires and railway lines, in the film industry.”

She added: “The key here is to ensure the safe use of drones. We do not want to tie the hands of regulators and be too prescriptive, but provide a framework for how they can proceed.”

According to the transport committee, drones must be able to detect aircraft using the same airspace, ensuring that there is no risk to the safety of manned aircraft.

In addition committee members believe densely-populated areas, no-fly zones, such as airports, power plants, nuclear and chemical plants, and other critical infrastructure, should be taken into consideration.

MEPs will vote on the resolution during the plenary session at the end of October.

Find out more about the opportunities, the need for proper training and what should be done about the privacy issue in a video interview with Jacqueline Foster, who is in charge of steering the new rules through Parliament.

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.”


UPS to trial range-extended electric vehicle on London operation

UPS has launched its first range-extended electric delivery vehicle for initial trials in the UK, developed in collaboration with TEVVA Motors.

Range-extending technology allows electric vehicles to go further, serving routes that would otherwise be beyond the capability of a conventional electric vehicle.

Since June 2014, UPS has worked with TEVVA Motors to develop a prototype, as part of the global courier’s focus on alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles.

A small, highly-efficient diesel engine acts as a generator to recharge the batteries if they become depleted out on the road. This significantly increases the range of the vehicle, potentially by several hundred kilometres, on top of its normal range of 75km to 100 km without range extension.

“With around 5,800 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles worldwide, sustainability is more than a practice at UPS, it’s a value. This vehicle highlights our commitment to integrating new technologies into our delivery fleet,” says Peter Harris, sustainability director, UPS Europe. “Finding the best, most responsible fleet solutions to suit our business and serve our customers is an important part of our sustainability strategy.”

Through its rolling laboratory UPS said it is is constantly evaluating and experimenting which alternatives offer a sustainable way of making deliveries in various scenarios, such as urban centres or long-range deliveries.

As people move from rural to urban areas, UPS is looking at ways to reduce vehicles’ contribution to congestion, noise and air pollution. Geo-fencing technology installed in this vehicle means it will operate in a purely electric capacity in urban areas to reduce the impact on air quality. Should additional power to the batteries be required, telemetry technology ensures that the range-extending diesel motor operates where the impact on air quality will be minimal, such as on the motorway.

The range-extended electric vehicle will first be deployed in Barking, East London. It will operate in a suburban environment, covering about 100km to 150km per day. The prototype will initially run for 12 months to assess the potential for the vehicle to be used more widely in UPS operations.

UPS highlighted a number of the sustainable urban logistics inititiatives it has in place in cities across the world in its latest sustainability strategy.


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.

Amazon boosts click and collect operation

Amazon is boosting its click and collect operation by offering customers free standard delivery to its network of 13,000 Pickup Locations across the UK.

Goods are delivered to secure sites located at rail, tube and petrol stations, local shops, business parks, university campuses and public buildings, which are then collected at a convenient time by customers.

Free Standard Delivery is available on products sold or fulfilled by Amazon, which include £10 or more of books, or £20 or more of products from any Amazon store.

Items will arrive one-to-two days after dispatch under free standard delivery. Options are also available to receive goods the next day or on the same-day.

“We are always trying to lower costs for our customers,” said John Tagawa, VP of Operations, Amazon UK. “For many people, collecting from an Amazon Pickup Location is the delivery option of choice.”

The number of Amazon Pickup Locations now stands at more than 13,000 – more than double the number a year ago. These include more than 300 Amazon Lockers.

Earlier this month, Amazon also expanded its Prime Now service to Birmingham, which enables customers to receive delivery of goods within one hour on thousands of items.

Launched in London in June, the speedy delivery service will be introduced in additional UK cities by the end of the year.

The fastest London Prime Now delivery to date was a NETGEAR Wi-Fi Range Extender which was ordered at 10:32am, shipped from Amazon’s Bow delivery station and delivered at 10:44am to a postcode in Canary Wharf.

Sign up online today for Freight in the City expo news

Make sure you sign-up today to receive the latest news and information about the inaugural Freight in the City expo this autumn.

Online expressions of interest are flooding in daily from representatives at local authorities, freight operators, retailers and academic institutions looking to attend the one-day exhibition and seminar programme at London’s Alexandra Palace on 27 October.

A top line-up of vehicle manufacturers including Mercedes-Benz, Daf, Volvo, IsuzuIveco and Dennis Eagle will be showcasing their latest urban vehicle designs, while equipment makers such as Brigade Electronics, Tachodisc 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.

Andy Salter, MD at Road Transport Media, said: “For all those involved in this sector, whether as a policy maker, consignor or commercial vehicle operator, it is essential everyone is aware of the implications and future requirements for urban logistics. Freight in the City is a forum to bring all the key stakeholders together to share ideas, information and solutions.”