Operators should monitor cycle superhighway 2 route during construction works

TfL is urging the use of alternative routes during peak times while construction work to upgrade cycle superhighway 2 (CS2) takes place in the capital.

The upgrade will create a fully and semi-segregated route between Aldgate and Bow roundabout, including 11 cycle-priority junctions installed, including at Aldgate, Mile End and Whitechapel.

A vast majority of the route will be separated with a kerb, which will keep cyclists away from road traffic. Where there is less space for kerbed segregation, cyclists will be separated from traffic by pioneering highly-visible traffic ‘wands’ – regularly spaced flexible poles that clearly define the cycle track.

TfL has begun ripping out the existing central reservations to make new space for traffic during these works and significant safety improvements at key junctions along Whitechapel Road and Mile End Road are also now underway.

The start of the upgrade work on CS2 kicks off a major build programme of new cycle routes across the capital this year, including the North-South and East-West “Crossrail for Bikes” routes, which the FTA warned last month were being rushed through before the full impact on traffic flow and deliveries had been assessed.

The full upgraded CS2 route is due for completion by spring 2016.

TfL said it will monitor the route 24 hours a day through its traffic control centre, however, drivers are strongly advised to plan alternative routes to avoid delays, particularly during peak travel times. Live traffic information is available at www.tfl.gov.uk/trafficnews and on Twitter at @tfltrafficnews and @tflbusalerts.

Operators split over Fors fees

Operators joining newly privatised Fors later this month will pay from £485 up to an eye-watering £11,250 in annual fees to be part of the benchmarking and safety initiative.

The new pricing, which sees operators charged on the basis of fleet size and number of operating centres for the previously free service, takes the form of an annual subscription and separate audit fee.

Existing Fors members (such as Cemex, pictured) will pay on renewal, and receive a sliding scale of discounts for the first year after day-to-day running transfers to Aecom.

The consultancy group will take on the running of Fors from 17 February, with support from CILT and Fleet Source, and is charged with rolling the scheme out nationally.

With construction firms Mace and Laing O’Rourke demanding bronze Fors from contractors, accreditation is a must-have for those in the building sector. More than 210,000 vehicles and 2,400 companies are now in Fors.

Gary Wood, director of training and tachograph analysis firm Plumwood, said: “My clients fall into three camps: those who have to have it [as they work in construction]; those who like to have it for the kudos; and those who never go into London or have never been asked for Fors [and won’t now renew].

“The first group is resigned to paying whatever the cost. The second group objects to the audit fee. When the audit is free it’s a nuisance, at £235 a re-sit it’s a different matter.”

Luke Busbridge, business development manager at Fors gold-accredited D&G Noble, said: “Being a Fors member has been advantageous with increasing safety standards and when tendering for business. But the new charge we face as a gold member of about £1,250 a year is quite a jump from what was a free service. We’ll have to review what benefits membership now brings over the next 12 months before renewing.”

However, Bob Dempsey, operations manager south at Wilson James, which runs the London Construction Consolidation Centre welcomed the change: “I think that Fors has gone as far as it can with TfL.”

Dempsey said that while the pricing seemed fair, he would not want to see it increase, nor the equipment required for each of the levels upped any more.

DHL launches ‘city safe, city quiet’ gas-powered concept vehicle at Quiet Cities

DHL has launched a compressed natural gas (CNG) concept truck, a Euro-6 two-axle rigid Scania P-280, at the inaugural Quiet Cities global summit in Twickenham today.

The bespoke truck has been designed to be safe, clean and quiet. It runs on a blend of natural and bio-gas, with the capability to run either fuel independently. DHL said that by running a blend of gasses in the engine it will see a 68% reduction in particulate matter (PM) and a 39% reduction in nitrogen oxides (NOx) compared to an equivalent diesel Euro-6 vehicle over the life-cycle of the vehicle.

DHL door

The low-entry cab is fitted with additional side-windows to improve visibility, alongside a four-camera, 360-degree camera system, with an in-cab screen and hard-drive image recording to improve safety.

DHL tail liftNylon components and pneumatic technologies have been used on the roller shutter of the trailer, to reduce noise levels, while a Noise Abatement Society and PIEK-certified tail-lift, run on a motor operating between 60 and 65 db(A) also reduces noise. Furthermore, a directed, tonal, alarm – which allows noise outside the hazard zone to dissipate quickly, has been fitted, running at 5db(A). The tear-drop trailer was supplied by Don-Bur.

Tim Slater, MD, transport at DHL Supply Chain UK & Ireland, said that the truck was part of the operator’s commitment to making transport “safer, cleaner and quieter”.

“While I truly believe this vehicle will be transformational in driving industry towards a better future, DHL will continue to invest in innovative vehicle technology, alternative fuels, accident-prevention systems and driver training to ensure we’re always delivering the best service for our customers and supporting the UK’s environmental health.”