Global report focuses on reducing traffic fatalities by designing safer, urban cities

‘Cities Safer by Design’ is a global report for urban planners and policymakers that offers practical guidance for designing safer towns that can reduce traffic fatalities.

More than 1.3 million people are killed in traffic crashes worldwide, making traffic fatalities one of the leading causes of death in cities.

The report from WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities includes more than 30 specific urban design recommendations.

“With the right urban design, we can make cities more livable, with safer streets for everyone,” said Ben Welle, senior associate at WRI and one of the report’s co-authors. “It’s often children, the elderly and the poor who are most at risk for traffic accidents. As cities around the world rapidly expand, there’s an urgent need to design communities that are compact and connected, with calm traffic and streets that promote walking, cycling and access to transit.”

The report focuses on two ways to improve traffic safety in cities. First, by building and retrofitting urban environments to reduce the need for individual vehicle trips; and second, by reducing vehicle speeds in areas where motorised vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists mix.

Illustrated recommendations for specific design elements proven to improve traffic safety, include traffic calming measures, junctions that reduce conflict between different road users, and protected cycle networks.

You can also read Welle’s blog on the seven proven principles for designing a safer city.

Freight must receive fair share of low-emission vehicle funding, says FTA

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) is calling for a ‘green truck fund’ to help operators adopt cleaner technology following the latest progress report from the government’s Low Carbon Truck Trial.

The association said the fund would support operators in adopting alternative fuels and low-carbon technologies, as high upfront vehicle purchase or conversion costs, in addition to a lack of public refuelling sites, are preventing the increase of greener trucks on the roads.

Rachael Dillon, FTA climate change policy manager, said: “The majority of funding to date has been allocated towards cars and vans.  If the government is serious about supporting green vehicles, it must ensure that freight receives a fair share of funding particularly given its key role in delivering the goods and services vital for the UK economy.”

A number of FTA members are involved in the Low Carbon Truck Trial, which is providing crucial feedback on the benefits and challenges of operating HGVs with gas.  Data is being gathered to analyse emissions savings and the other benefits that gas HGVs can bring, such as lower noise.

The FTA said gas and ultimately biomethane is an important alternative, especially for long trunking on motorways where electric is unviable.  While it welcomed the Office for Low-Emission Vehicles’ (OLEV) £4m funding competition for public gas refuelling infrastructure to be launched next year, it said further financial support is required to “really kick-start the market”.

Dillon added: “Based on the results to date of this trial, we would urge the OLEV, which is providing an overall £500m funding package for ultra-low emission vehicles (2015-2020), to seriously consider a ‘green truck fund’ to enable more operators to utilise alternative fuels and low-carbon technologies when the current trial ends in 2016.”

Government’s low-carbon truck trial second progress report published

The government has published the second progress report of its low-carbon truck trial, which has examined the data provided by 13 separate industry-led projects operating more than 300 alternative-fuelled HGVs.

Launched in 2012, the UK trial aims to enable commercial fleet operators to learn about alternative fuels, for manufacturers to learn new ways to develop products and for the roll-out of publically-accessible gas refuelling infrastructure.

An £11.3m fund was provided by the Department for Transport, the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and Innovate UK for the successful projects, which was matched by £12m of industry investment.

By the end of last year, 317 low-carbon trucks were in operation on the trial, the majority of which comprise liquefied natural gas (LNG) or compressed natural gas (CNG) dual-fuel technology, alongside a small sample of those running on gas only or incorporating used cooking oil (UCO).

The progress report studies the performance of HGVs running on different fuels.

For example, the 10 dual-fuel UCO vehicles on trial have provided significant gains during operation, with a substitution rate of 86%, no loss in engine efficiency and well-to-wheel emissions savings estimated at 83%. Particulate matter emissions were also reduced by around 40%, particularly ultrafine particles, however, NOx emissions were similar between UCO and diesel vehicles.

Another project reported that its dual-fuel truck was significantly quieter, circa 3dB(A) in dual-fuel mode during low-speed drive and acceleration events. It was also quieter 0.5-1.2dB(A) during idle and hot engine start conditions in dual-fuel mode compared with diesel-only operation.

The trials also aim to establish publically-accessible gas refuelling infrastructure for operators across the UK. A total of 16 new stations were proposed at the start of the scheme, with four commissioned by the end of 2014 and a further six existing sites now upgraded. Station commissioning will continue this year, with 12 new and three upgraded stations planned.

Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership reveals shortlist for Champions Awards

The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) has announced the shortlist for its 2015 Low Carbon Champions Awards, which aim to recognise the UK’s continued progressive thinking in the area of low carbon transport.

Now in their fifth year, the awards celebrate best practice in the UK in accelerating the shift to lower carbon vehicles and fuels and reducing road transport emissions.

The organisers said the Low Carbon Champions Awards are one of a select few sustainable development awards schemes to have received accreditation by the Royal Society of the Arts (RSA), enabling category winners to go forward to the European Business awards for the Environment (EBAE).

Returning by popular demand, the master of ceremonies will be actor and green vehicle enthusiast Robert Llewellyn (pictured), best known for his role as ‘Kryten’ in BBC’s Red Dwarf and for presenting Channel 4’s Scrapheap Challenge.

The awards will be presented at the networking and awards dinner at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Milton Keynes in collaboration with Cenex on the evening of Wednesday 9 September 2015 – the first of two days of the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle (LCV) 2015 event.

A full list of shortlisted firms and previous winners can be found at


UK cities can adopt viable last-mile delivery schemes for no cost by tapping into existing research

A series of last-mile logistics schemes trialled successfully across north-west Europe can be shared and rolled out across UK cities with little or no adaption cost, according to researchers.

The LaMiLo project – which stands for last-mile logistics – was launched as a means to boost efficiency in the final leg of a freight journey into city centres.

It wanted to find feasible options for reducing the amount of individual, small deliveries made in separate vehicles into city centres – a result of the increase in e-commerce that has seen many logistics firms extend their supply chains down to the end user. This has led to additional vehicles on the roads, more congestion, air and noise pollution, as well as proving inefficient when customers are not at home.

“LaMiLo wants to show new possibilities for city logistics over the last mile by understanding and influencing the actions of all those involved – those of private companies, the public sector and customers,” says PTV project manager Philipp Lenz.

The first objective was to isolate the challenges and the barriers that have hindered the adoption of a common course of action in city logistics until now, he added.

In the process, it became clear how important it is for the public sector to address the problems in urban commercial traffic, working in cooperation with both companies and suppliers. This can be done, for example, by creating unloading zones specially designed for the needs of consolidated deliveries, or by setting up a common platform for all parties involved to promote co-operation and provide a clear overview of costs. Cost transparency alone can help many companies to quickly understand the benefits.

Trials involved in LaMiLo included:

The LaMiLo project now hopes other cities will be able to roll-out similar schemes by using the accumulated knowledge from the trials to apply the last-mile models at little cost.

An awareness of logistics and of the environmental and social impacts of freight transport should become a higher priority for cities, urged researchers, because where local governments lead, others will follow.

The LaMiLo project is an INTERREG IVB North-West Europe project partly financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), in which 13 partners from seven north-west European countries took part. Organisers and researchers from the public and private sectors worked together to make the last mile sustainable and more efficient.



Freight in the City Expo attracts big name exhibitors

The inaugural Freight in the City Expo is already attracting major industry manufacturers looking to demonstrate how fleets can be made, cleaner, safer and more efficient in their urban delivery operations.

Daf, Volvo, Isuzu and Iveco will be bringing along their latest urban delivery vehicles for visitors to explore, while technology giants such as Brigade, Tachodisc, Fuel Defend, Backwatch and Exeros will show you how to improve efficiency of your existing vehicles.

Representatives from the Eco Stars scheme will also be on hand to provide guidance to fleet operators on ways to drive down carbon emissions and make efficiency gains in fuel usage.

With more exhibitors signing up every day to take part in the expo, make sure you register today on to receive regular urban logistics news and event updates as they happen.

The Freight in the City Expo will be held on 27 October at London’s Alexandra Palace and comprise an exhibition and demonstration zone, alongside a comprehensive programme of seminars, panel debates and roundtables with industry experts.



Local authorities pivotal in promoting shift to low-emission vehicles in cities

Take-up of low-emission vehicles in towns and cities is steadily increasing year-on-year, but local authorities have a significant part to play in supporting this growth.

This was the message delivered by the Office of Low-Emission Vehicles (OLEV) to delegates attending a Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership workshop in York city yesterday (6 July).

Steve Ives, head of energy systems at OLEV, said the government’s Go Ultra Low City Scheme would be sharing £35m between two to four successful cities bidding for funding in the national competition.

The scheme’s main aim is to see winning cities bring about a step-change in uptake of ULEVs, as well as becoming exemplars demonstrating how a local authority can achieve success.

Gloria Esposito, head of projects at LowCVP, said key drivers for boosting uptake of low-emission vehicles remain to reduce CO2 and NOx/PM emissions from road transport; lessen the reliance on fossil fuels; and to increase economic development through manufacturing and employment opportunities in the automotive sector.


However, several barriers currently exist to preclude widescale uptake of ULEVs in the van sector, such as a lack of available vehicles, particularly those with a higher payload; lack of information about financial benefits and suitability of alternative fuels; and a lack of information sharing between fleet operators.

To date, only 0.2% of new van sales are electric, with the Renault Kangoo the highest seller last year out of nine available van models and one range-extended electric vehicle, said Esposito.

Electric vans are perceived to have higher capital costs, with uncertainty in the total cost of ownership, including battery life and replacement charge. Also a payload penalty, range limitation, resale value and uncertainty in performance remain concerns for fleet operators.

Natural gas/biomethane vans suffer from a lack of refuelling stations and uncertainty in performance and reliability.

Help at hand

To overcome some of these barriers, Cenex’s new low-emission van cost and carbon guide provides much of the information local authorities need to know about the suitability of different types of van for their individual operations, including comparisons of whole-life costs and benefits.

Cenex said the online tool was essential as the van sector was the fastest growing sector of UK road transport, contributing 14% of the industry’s total CO2 emissions from a 95% diesel vehicle fleet.

David Beeton, director at sustainable city think-tank Urban Foresight, looked at some of the ways local authorities could promote a shift in vehicle use at the conference.

These included both financial and non-financial incentives (such as dedicated parking bays), as well as ensuring planning departments come on-board and begin to build-in provision for alternative-fuel infrastructure into new developments or parking plans. For example, delegates learned that in Westminster, 100% of planning permits for new parking spaces specify they must all be EV ready.

Incentives do not have to be focused on rewarding desired behaviour, there could be penalties imposed for those not adopting low-emission vehicles instead.

Leading by example

Procurement was another key driver that local authorities can use to lead by example with uptake of greener fleets.

In Dundee, the council runs the UK’s largest local authority fleet of ULEVS, with 62 units representing more than 25% of its light duty vehicles, while Stockholm city is leading a joint procurement scheme with 335 partners buying 1,250 low-emission vehicles per year.

Promoting recharging infrastructure is also essential for local authorities, added Beeton. For example, in Scotland and the West of England, electricity for charging vehicles is free of charge, while Camden allows public access for a variety of alterative fuel charging points used for its own fleet.

Beeton said collaboration between all departments in a local authority, as well as sharing best practice with other cities would really help stimulate EV take-up.

The creation of a ‘champion’ within each local authority was also a useful tool, he added.







Freight in the City seminar programme to provide practical, real-life guidance to improve city deliveries

The seminar programme is taking shape for the inaugural Freight in the City Expo on 27 October at London’s Alexandra Palace.

Split into three distinct work streams to cover all aspects of clean, safe and efficient urban logistics, the seminars will bring together operators, local authorities, businesses, industry experts and policy-makers to inspire delegates to push the boundaries of improving their city centre deliveries.

Presentations and activities will demonstrate the many successful urban freight schemes taking place both in UK cities and globally, and explore practical ways that can see such measures adopted at local level.

The clean work stream will look at the latest breakthrough technology available for making sustainable urban deliveries, such as viable alternative-fuelled HGVs and vans, and provide guidance on how to navigate the myriad of available grants and research to draw upon. It will also demonstrate real-life case studies of trials being carried out in partnership between operators, local councils and businesses and explain how collaboration is paramount.

Safe deliveries will be tackled in work stream two, which will cover the implications of existing and forthcoming legislation to urban deliveries, look at the latest equipment and training schemes to help delivery drivers navigate busy city streets, and examine how local authorities can work with all road users to help them share limited road space without incidents.

Finally, the efficient work stream aims to inspire delegates with innovative ways to get freight into city centres. Consolidation schemes, zero-emission last-mile drop-offs and out-of-hours deliveries are among the many successful schemes being used every day in UK cities to reduce congestion and make more efficient use of busy urban roads.

If you feel your company or organisation has the expertise to speak at one of our seminars about a topical urban logistics challenge, or there is a particular subject you’d be interested to learn more about at the expo, please contact

You can also register to receive the latest expo updates and a fortnightly round-up of Freight in the City news via email.

Climate Change Committee recommendations for lowering UK transport’s greenhouse emissions

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has urged the government to provide greater long-term certainty on policies that enable the UK transport industry to invest in emission-reduction schemes and vehicles.

It said many existing policies and funding streams for the transition to a low-carbon economy are due to end by 2020 and should be extended as soon as possible to give confidence to investors and support innovation.

Domestic transport accounted for 22% of total UK greenhouse emissions during 2014 – a rise of 1.1% and a reversal of the 1.1% average decline per annum seen since 2009.

In its first report to the new government, the CCC reports on data from last year and makes recommendations on how to improve transport’s carbon impact.

CO2 intensity of new cars and vans had continued to improve, but the report flags up growing concern about the widening gap between test-cycle and real-world emissions testing. There has also been little progress on developing post 2020 CO2 targets for cars and vans or developing CO2 regulation for new HGVs.

Electric vehicle sales have quadrupled during 2014, with many new models available. However, barriers to electric vehicle uptake must be addressed, including the provision of a national network of charging points and continued support for vehicles’ upfront costs while they remain more expensive than conventional options.

Penetration of biofuels increased from 2.9% by energy in 2013 to 3.2% in 2014, with almost half derived from waste.

The committee recommends that vehicle taxes keep pace with technological changes and improvements to CO2 levels, with a greater differential between rates for high and low-emission vehicles.

It also urged pioneering schemes from larger freight operators to reduce fuel costs and lower emissions should be rolled out across the whole industry, including smaller operators.

Following the CCC report, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has called for more government support to help transport operators make carbon savings, such as directing biomethane gas towards transport instead of electricity generation.

FTA’s Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme (LCRS) is an example of the type of successful emissions-reduction initiative the report recommends is rolled out across the whole of industry, said Christopher Snelling, head of urban logistics.

The scheme has been running for five years and has 110 members, responsible for more than 77,000 commercial vehicles.

“We have discussed our work with the CCC on many occasions and it is gratifying to have the approach of the LCRS supported in this way. LCRS members consistently make greater carbon reductions than non-members, so now we want to work with as much of the logistics industry as possible to make this even more of a success in the future,” Snelling added.


Iconic venue for Freight in the City Expo 2015

The inaugural Freight in the City Expo will take place at London’s historic Alexandra Palace this autumn.

The iconic venue, situated high above the London skyline between Muswell Hill & Wood Green, first opened in 1873 on Queen Victoria’s 54th birthday.

In 1935, the BBC leased the eastern part of the building and the first public television transmissions were made in 1936.

In more recent years, the Palace has built a reputation as one of London’s premier event venues. With its beautiful setting with panoramic views of London, stunning architectural features and well-proportioned halls, the Palace is a popular choice for both corporate and private events. RYA-dinghy-show-2009-1000x6641

“We have selected Alexandra Palace as the venue for the inaugural Freight in the City Expo because it offers a fantastic exhibition space large enough for articulated trucks to drive straight into and it has great links to the M1, M25 and North Circular,” said Laura Hailstone, project manager of Freight in the City.

“Unlike purpose-built exhibition venues, Alexandra Palace has plenty of character and charm and will enable us to provide our exhibitors and visitors with a fantastic experience,” she added.

For visitors driving to Freight in the City Expo, the Palace has complimentary on-site parking for 1,500 vehicles. The venue itself is just 1 mile from the North Circular; 5 miles from the M1; and 8 miles from the M25.

For those travelling by public transport, both Wood Green underground and Alexandra Palace overground stations are close by, with a free shuttle bus running throughout the day of the exhibition collecting visitors from both stations and dropping them at the door of the Palace.

“The other bonus about the venue is that it provides us with the necessary infrastructure to set up a truck washing facility adjacent to the venue for any exhibitors showcasing trucks and vans,” said Hailstone.

The leading truck manufacturers have all shown a strong interest in exhibiting at the Expo. Details of confirmed bookings will be announced in the next edition of Freight in the City News (8 July).