Transport for London launches inaugural Freight in the City Expo at Alexandra Palace

“We must remember that freight and logistics is the lifeblood of this country”, said TfL MD of surface transport Leon Daniels launching the inaugural Freight in the City Expo this week (27 October) at London’s Alexandra Palace.

Hundreds of visitors flocked to the iconic London venue to learn more about the industry’s drive towards making urban freight deliveries cleaner, safer, quieter and more efficient.

“We are delighted to be here demonstrating that we are part of the support that the freight industry needs to keep London a buzzing, economically thriving city.”

Daniels said that the capital has not been as busy as it is today since its 1939 peak, with a further two million people predicted to move to London by 2031, generating an additional five million road journeys on top of the 24 million already taking place. This is why it is investing £4bn into improving its infrastructure through its Roads Modernisation Plan.

Better use of technology, such as kerbside management systems, would help drive efficiency and sustainability of freight movements and contribute towards improving the capital’s air quality. This would be complemented by the introduction of an ultra-low-emission zone by 2020 to drive down harmful emissions from transport and encourage the uptake of cleaner, hybrid commercial vehicles in London.

TfL’s targeted enforcement to improve the safety of HGVs entering the capital would also continue to be stepped up, with initiative’s such as the Safer Lorry Scheme launched last month and Operation Safety successfully driving up standards. It would also continue to encourage HGVs to be designed with lower cabs, larger windows and new safety technology ensuring London was doing “everything possible to reduce the number of vulnerable road users killed in our city to zero”, said Daniels.

“But air quality, pollution and safety is not just about London,” he added. “We are determined to really drive forward, working with other agencies,  safer truck logistics programmes across the whole of the country.

“Freight in the City demonstrates all that is good in this industry, and we are delighted to be here.”








Nottingham City cycle superhighway works commence

Work has begun this week on a new, segregated cycle superhighway in Nottingham City centre following a public consultation earlier this year.

The Western Corridor is one of the new routes proposed in the £6.1m Nottingham Cycle City Ambition Programme (NCCAP) and links the city centre to Woodside Road, Lenton.

It will be segregated from other traffic and feature signals that prioritise cyclists.

Nottingham City Council warned that temporary traffic measures will be in place during the works, which will cause localised restrictions, with affected residents and businesses on the route informed in advance.

Councillor Nick McDonald, portfolio holder for growth, jobs and transport at Nottingham City Council, said: “The start of the cycle super-highway roadworks is a really exciting development for the city. The route links up the University of Nottingham to the city centre. We know it will prove to be popular with commuters and leisure cyclists and provides a real showcase to demonstrate how high we are setting our standards for Nottingham’s cycling future.”

Nottingham City Council is also preparing a cycle route design guide to show how cycling facilities will be designed over the coming year, and is looking for the views on the guide from all road users by 31 October. The draft guide can be viewed here and comments and thoughts sent to

Work to build the city’s new cycle superhighway is due to be completed by 29 April 2016.


Transport for London opens first section of North-South segregated cycle route

Transport for London (TfL) has opened the first section of its North-South segregated cycle route – six months after construction first commenced.

The two-way 800m section runs from Elephant & Castle to the Peabody Estate on Blackfriars Road. It will intersect with the new Quietway 1 from Waterloo to Greenwich at Webber Street, as well as the existing Cycle Superhighway 7 at Princess Street.

Once completed, the full length of the North-South cycle route will run from Kings Cross to Elephant & Castle.

TfL said congestion levels along St George’s Road have greatly eased since work finished. At certain times, especially outside the peak hours, TfL added that traffic is reducing back to similar levels seen before the work began, but with the added benefits of better cycle facilities and pedestrian crossings.

‎Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “We appreciate there’s disruption going on as this network of routes takes shape alongside other major development work in London, but TfL is pulling out all the stops to minimise delays.”

‎In the new year, cyclists will be able to travel from Elephant and Castle to Blackfriars Bridge along the new North-South route, with Blackfriars Road transformed from a car-dominated street into a new urban boulevard with almost 20,000 square feet of new space for pedestrians and a two-way segregated cycle track.

‎The link across Blackfriars Bridge will open to cyclists by spring 2016, connecting it with the East-West Cycle Superhighway and Farringdon. The North-South route will be co-branded Cycle Superhighway 6.

‎Leon Daniels, MD of Surface Transport at TfL, said: “It’s incredible that in just six months we have managed to transform these roads into a truly continental cycling landscape.”

‎Since March, work has also been progressing with the East-West route from Tower Hill to Westbourne Terrace. Two other segregated superhighways are also under construction: the upgrade of Cycle Superhighway 2 from Aldgate to Bow and the new Cycle Superhighway 5 from Oval to Pimlico, which will open next month. All these routes will be built by summer 2016.




Government urged to prioritise a Lower Thames Crossing to tackle rising levels of congestion

Chancellor George Osborne has been urged to prioritise the building of a “much-needed” Lower Thames Crossing to ease the current bottlenecks and rising levels of congestion affecting the Thames Estuary.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has today joined key organisations in calling on the government to set a schedule for delivery of the new crossing in its Autumn Statement.

FTA chief executive David Wells signed a letter to the chancellor highlighting transport issues affecting the Thames Estuary, particularly at the Dartford Crossing where congestion is predicted to reach pre-Dart Charge levels by 2020 according to Department for Transport modelling.

The FTA said a new crossing is urgently needed by the logistics industry to ease the current bottlenecks and provide resilience, especially when there is an issue at the Dartford tunnel or bridge. The cost of delays to transport operators equates to £1 for every minute an HGV sits in traffic.

Wells said: “Congestion costs our industry millions of pounds every year and the lack of an alternative to the Dartford Crossing isn’t just a problem for the South-East.

“Businesses across the UK rely on deliveries of materials to and from Europe and the M25 is the main gateway to the Midlands and the North.  We need a further river crossing to increase capacity and make journey times more reliable. There could be no better way for the government to demonstrate its commitment to the northern powerhouse.”

The letter has been sent by the FTA in collaboration with a number of organisations including the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, Eurotunnel, the Port of Dover, London Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

Tougher roadwork rules for contractors a good thing for movement of goods, says FTA

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) says the government’s plan for stronger regulations to prevent long stretches of roadworks on motorways could cut delays and reduce costs for HGV operators.

According to the FTA, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has told Highways England to introduce tough new rules for contractors to prevent motorists getting stuck in lengthy queues. He also wants better communication with road users so they understand the reason for works and can plan alternative routes.

Malcolm Bingham, FTA head of road network management policy, said: “Long stretches of roadworks create a series of problems for our members – it’s an issue that they constantly complain about.

“We know that for the largest vehicles it costs £1 for every minute they’re stuck in traffic. Limiting roadworks to two-mile stretches could considerably reduce the time they’re delayed.  Nose-to-tail shunts are more prevalent in queues of slow moving traffic too, so hopefully this will also cut the number of accidents in roadworks.”

The FTA said that disruption on England’s motorways is expected to increase as the government’s £15.2bn plan to improve the strategic road network gets underway. More than three-quarters of England’s motorways and major A-roads will be resurfaced and more than 1,300 miles of road will be built by 2020.

Currently the longest stretch of motorway roadworks runs for more than 18 miles between junctions 28 and 31 of the M1 near Chesterfield.

Bingham added: “Anything that keeps traffic flowing and reduces delays is welcome – time is money for all transport operators.”

Future Cities Catapult report to share UK urban infrastructure best practice with Brazilian cities

A new report from Future Cities Catapult aims to share UK best-practice in intelligent urban infrastructure with cities in Brazil.

It seeks to foster links between local authorities in both countries and encourage the two-way flow of knowledge and innovation about common urban challenges, such as traffic congestion, overcrowding and road safety.

More than 85% of the Brazilian population lives in cities. The new report outlines key challenges facing Belo Horizonte and other Brazilian cities more widely, along with case studies highlighting successful examples of UK innovation that could help tackle them.

A team of technologists, ethnographers, data scientist, urbanists and anthropologists at Future Cities Catapult are looking at why ideas such as smart road junctions, environmental sensor technology and open data have been successful in the UK and how their benefits might be translated to Brazilian cities.

The project is being supported by the Prosperity Fund of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, an annual fund which supports cooperation projects overseas.

Scott Cain, chief business officer of Future Cities Catapult, said “Future Cities Catapult sits within a rich ecosystem of companies working on the products and services that make cities better. The UK is the place to come for urban innovation and this report highlights an exciting opportunity for UK SME’s to take advantage of the fast growing Brazilian market for urban solutions.”

To stay up to date with this and other projects from Future Cities Catapult, please follow Twitter @FutureCitiesCat.

Making more use of Northern ports could shave up to 156 million HGV miles off UK road network

Many suppliers are considering relocating their operations to cities in the North of England in order to be closer to their customer base, delegates were told at a policy seminar in Westminster yesterday.

According to Frank Rogers, deputy chief executive and director of integrated transport services at Merseytravel, an organisation that provides transport advice to the Liverpool city region, some 91% of imports from India enter the UK through the South East, despite 61% of these goods being used north of the Midlands.

“This gives us the opportunity to do some rebalancing on the networks,” Rogers said at the Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum freight policy seminar this week.  “If we can rebalance the freight that comes into the UK and maximise the use of the Northern ports, there is the potential to take up to 156 million HGV miles a year off the UK road network [and] increase GDP.”

He said the organisation is identifying key sites for development in the Liverpool region as demand to move north increases.

“There is a very clear pattern now where suppliers are moving to the North to be closer to their client base, to be able to meet the requirements of just-in-time deliveries and so on.

“It’s becoming fiction that the golden triangle of previous years is located around the East Midlands. But when you look at warehouse densities, it’s actually somewhere around Hull,” Rogers added.

Paul Strang, senior strategy and planning manager (freight and fleet) at TfL, said London is also seeing a shift in where its warehouses are located for cost reasons. But this increases the strain on the city’s road network.

“As property prices in urban areas increase, warehouses are moving further and further away, which means there is more congestion [going into the city] and the negative stuff associated with that,” said Strang.

FTA: smart motorways would ease congestion and boost freight journey reliability into Belfast city centre

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has welcomed a study commissioned by Northern Ireland roads authority, Transport NI, that outlines proposals for the M1 and M2 into Belfast becoming ‘smart motorways’.

Freight operators would see the benefits from an economic, environmental and safety persepctive if smart motorways were introduced, which turn parts of the hard shoulder into carriageways during congested periods.

Seamus Leheny, FTA policy & membership relations manager – Northern Ireland, said: “The major routes around Belfast suffer from recurrent traffic congestion at peak times. Using hard shoulders on the M1 and M2 in and out of Belfast, especially at peak hours – must be given serious consideration. Smart Motorway use increases capacity during rush-hours which would mean improved journey time reliability into Belfast City Centre and the Harbour, and would result in lower emissions and fewer accidents.”

TransportNI also looked at restricting use of the hard shoulders to buses, multiple occupancy vehicles and freight traffic, which would also be feasible and a significant benefit for improving goods movements in the Greater Belfast area while also improving public transport.

Highways England have implemented similar schemes as far back as 2006, with the M42 scheme reporting a 18% reduction in pollution from vehicle emissions and a 4% reduction in fuel use after six months in operation.

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.

Solar-power-generating noise barriers for highways being trialled in the Netherlands

Researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology have developed large fluorescent noise barriers for busy roads that can also generate solar energy.

Two panels have been erected alongside the A2 highway near Den Bosch in a practical test launched on 18 June – led by Dutch building company Heijmans – to assess the economic and technical feasibility of energy-generating noise barriers.

The Luminescent Solar Concentrator (LSC) panels have been developed by Michael Debje, a researcher at the Eindhoven University of Technology, which are able to receive sunlight and guide it in concentrated form to land on traditional solar cells.

Each of the two noise barriers used in the trial are 5m wide and 4.5m high.

This is the first time in the Netherlands that a practical test of this kind has been carried out at real-life size. Researchers want to gain a better understanding of how much electricity these semi-transparent acoustic screens can generate under different lighting and weather conditions.

The first research results show that 1km of energy-generating noise barriers can produce enough electricity to supply 50 households with power.

“Thanks to their many colours, the LSC [panels] are visually very attractive, which makes them ideal for use in many different situations in the built environment,” said Debje. “Further benefits are that the principle used is low cost, they can be produced in any desired, regular colour, are robust and will even work when the sky is cloudy.”

Stijn Verkuilenm, project leader at Heijmans, said: “The Netherlands has enough noise barriers and can also provide the necessary solar cell technology. Our practical test is a simple sum, through which we’re investigating the ways solar cell technology can be integrated in a robust and visually attractive way.”