Transport for West Midlands looks to keep road network ‘running at its maximum’


Birmingham needs to think radically if it is to reduce congestion, lower noise and improve air quality – without damaging the strength of the regional economy – according to Transport for West Midlands.

Speaking exclusively to, Laura Shoaf, MD of Transport for West Midlands, said: “Being at the centre of the road network and of the rail network gives us a competitive advantage in terms of attracting and retaining businesses, and freight plays a huge part in the regional economy.

“We have real air quality issues in the region, and we are mandated to address that,” she added. “The public have the expectation that they have a right to breath clean air.”

However, she added: “Businesses need roads to move freight to market. Moving non-essential road journeys off the road and providing well-priced, public transport alternatives will mean the network runs at its maximum.”

Shoaf is chairing a debate on ‘How to influence customers’ delivery expectations’ at Freight in the City Birmingham on 1 March and said that she would “certainly be interested” in hearing the views of the panellists when it comes to reducing the impact that final-mile deliveries have on congestion, noise and air quality.

She cited the use of electric-powered tricycles in trials in cities in Scandinavia as the kind of radical solutions required to address such challenges.

  • The Freight in the City Spring Summit takes place on 1 March at Edgbaston Stadium in Birmingham. It is free to attend, so make sure you reserve your place today.

Registration open for Freight in the City Birmingham on 1 March

Registrations have now opened for the ‘Freight in the City Spring Summit: Improving the last mile’ on 1 March at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham.

This free-to-attend summit will focus on the need to think differently about how cities, businesses and operators approach last-mile deliveries to reduce freight’s impact on urban areas.

You’ll hear from major cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and Southampton about the challenges they’ve faced to mitigate the impact of essential goods deliveries to businesses and residents in urban areas.

These include mandated clean air zones that need to be in place by 2020, as well as a need to reduce conflict between goods vehicles and vulnerable users, and finding ways to tackle congestion on key routes into and around cities.

Leading researcher Laetitia Dablanc will share urban logistics best practice across Europe, complemented by seminars from major operators such as UPS and Meachers Global Logistics on their work to make inner city deliveries more sustainable.

Delegates will also take a look at some of the latest technology and delivery methods emerging to the marketplace, as well as the potential of modal switch to water, rail or bicycle for relieving pressure on the roads network.

There will also be the opportunity to ask questions via a lively panel debate on the challenge of persuading consumers to accept more sustainable methods of receiving their online purchases.

“This really is a must-attend event for local authorities, businesses and freight operators to learn from their peers about more sustainable ways to handle last-mile deliveries, demonstrating how cities and industry have worked collaboratively to ensure freight journeys are cleaner, safer and quieter,” said Hayley Pink, Freight in the City editor.

The spring summit is supported by the Urban Transport Group (UTG) and Transport for West Midlands.

Jonathan Bray, UTG director, said: “Getting last-mile logistics right forms part of a much wider debate about what kind of cities we want to live in and how we want them to look and feel.

“This conference presents a great opportunity to explore innovative solutions that enable last-mile journeys to be completed as safely, unobtrusively and with as little environmental impact as possible.”

  • Reserve your place now and browse through the speakers and exhibitors taking part, or to check out the organisations already signed up to attend.

TfL head of freight to step down next month

TfL’s head of freight and fleet programming, Ian Wainwright, will step down at the end of October.

He will leave TfL on 28 October, after 11 years with the business.

During his time in the freight role, Wainwright was a key player in the success of the London 2012 Olympics logistics.

TfL head of surface transport Leon Daniels said: “Ian was a key player in the development of the original London Freight Plan and led the freight team during the 2012 Olympics, ensuring the success of both the freight industry and London during the Games.”

He went on to credit Wainwright and his team with the prominence of freight issues in the London Mayor election manifestos earlier this year, which Daniels said was a result of their work to “ensure that the lessons from the Games were captured and developed upon”.

Wainwright will remain in his post until the Freight Forum on 21 October, where plans for the future management of TfL’s freight programme will be outlined.

Freight in the City understands that a review at TfL will see freight intergrated into TfL’s day-to-day operation, rather than operating as a standalone team.

Greater Manchester freight forum builds momentum

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has taken the first steps towards creating the city region’s first-ever freight forum.

Last month it hosted a workshop to find out what challenges logistics firms faced when operating across the 10-district region, and to define the sector’s role in Manchester’s economic growth plans.

Helen Smith, head of logistics and environment at TfGM, said it was “an exciting time” for the region bringing opportunities for operators through projects like the Atlantic Gateway, as well as devolution giving Manchester more control over road and infrastructure investment.

Paul Davison, principal consultant at Aecom, which will head up the new forum, said the group would be “truly representative” of the industry, drawing together businesses from across the whole supply chain and the public sector.

“We are ambitious about what this forum can achieve,” he added. “We want to be at the vanguard of doing things that might not have been tried before, or in a different way. We don’t just want quick wins; we want it to really have an impact.”

Themes raised on the day included tackling congestion at key pinch points such as Manchester Airport; ensuring HGV compliance standards aligned with those in other cities; helping operators to obtain customer buy-in for changing delivery habits; and ensuring the right balance between carrot and stick when it came to implementing new rules for freight.

A proposal was put forward on the day to use of the city’s tram network to transport freight by adapting existing rolling stock. A similar trial was carried out in Amsterdam during 2007/08 which brought goods into the city centre and brought out waste paper as a backload. Each converted tram could carry the equivalent of four 7.5-tonne trucks.

Modal shift away from road, out-of-hours deliveries, consolidation centres, and the use of Delivery Servicing Plans and construction logistics plans to mitigate the impact of building sites were also being encouraged.

Smith added: “We absolutely want to get this right. We want the forum to be really worthwhile and make a difference on the ground.”

The forum will be officially launched in September and operators are encouraged to get involved now in shaping its agenda:



Clean Air Zones for UK cities mean HGVS and vans face charges

Birmingham will get one of the first clean air zones

HGVs and vans that do not meet emissions requirements will soon face a charge to enter certain areas in some of the UK’s major cities, as part of the government’s plans to improve air quality.

Clean Air Zones will be introduced in Birmingham (pictured), Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton by 2020.

It will see the most polluting vehicles, including HGVs that do not meet the Euro-6 emissions standard, diesel buses, taxis and coaches, discouraged from entering.

Cars are excluded from the scheme.

Zones in Birmingham and Leeds will also discourage the use of diesel vans and will implement other measures. These may include park and ride schemes, signage, changes in road layouts and provision of infrastructure for alternative fuels.

All ultra-low emission vehicles will be given free access to the zones as an incentive to invest in green technology.

Plans to exclude private cars from the scheme have been criticised by the FTA, particularly as the Ultra-Low Emission Zone in London from 2020 will include cars.

Rachael Dillon, FTA’s climate change policy manager, said: “Everyone has to play their part to help improve air quality. But rather than sharing the burden of meeting air quality targets, the government has firmly rested the responsibility on other modes including freight which access cities to deliver the goods and services to keep our economy moving.

“FTA recognises the urgent need for the UK to meet EU air quality targets and to improve local air quality for residents.  We also recognise that the freight sector must contribute.  But to fail to include cars – a major source of pollutants – in such plans is baffling.”

Highways England wants feedback on key roads challenges facing logistics operators and customers

Highways England is keen to hear from transport planners, fleet operators and drivers about the best method to interact with them about the latest road network information.

It also wants to find out exactly what facts and intelligence operators need, as well as gain a better understanding of the key roads challenges facing them in their day-to-day activities and the impact on their businesses.

An online survey was launched at last week’s Freight in the City Expo in London by the CILT, on behalf of Highways England, to seek the views of those working in logistics planning, ‘on the road’ planning, operations, drivers and end customers.

CILT said this is a key opportunity for all those involved in road transport operations to voice issues or concerns about the current systems in place for information sharing and communication and to ensure its views are represented to Highways England.

The survey, which closes on Friday 20 November, will take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. Please click here to begin.

Operators asked to voice opinions to shape Transport for the North freight strategy

Transport for the North (TfN) is seeking the views of operators to help shape the UK’s first pan-regional freight and logistics strategy.

The new strategy is expected to enable TfN to determine the steps that are required, in terms of network and policy development, to realise the freight and logistics industry’s potential.

Mott MacDonald and MDS Transmodal have been appointed to lead the project.

Data is required from operators in three key areas:

  • Strengths and opportunities;
  • Constraints and issues;
  • What interventions, developments and investments are needed for the sector to realise its full potential?

TfN is also giving logistics firms the opportunity to share any relevant data or written material with the study team and highlight any project proposals or planned investments they feel should be considered as part of strategy development.

A stakeholder conference was held in Liverpool earlier this month, where baseline research was presented to attendees and key challenges for the logistics sector discussed.

An online survey is now being conducted for those that could not attend, which closes at midnight on Sunday 18 October. This can be completed at, where presentation slides from the stakeholder meeting can also be viewed.

If you have any questions about the study, please email:

TfN recently appointed its new chief executive David Brown.

Transport for the North announces new chief executive will be Merseytravel’s David Brown

Transport for the North (TfN) has chosen Merseytravel director general David Brown as its new chief executive.

He will lead the organisation as it develops a new strategy for transforming the northern economy through better transport connectivity between the city regions, which is due to be published in March 2016.

An interim progress report on the new strategy will be released later this autumn.

TfN is also seeking to appoint an independent chair by the end of the year, with further plans to develop the organisation into a statutory body by 2017.

Brown, who will start his role within the next few weeks, is a highly experienced individual in the public transport and infrastructure sectors across the North of England.

He said of his appointment: “I’m delighted to be taking up this new role within TfN at a really exciting time for transport across the region and beyond. TfN will be at the forefront of delivering an integrated and holistic approach to transport in the North and I relish the opportunity to help shape and drive that forward.”

Prior to his appointment as chief executive/director general at Merseytravel, Brown headed up the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive. He also led on the successful establishment of Rail North, which, similarly to TfN, brings together the northern authorities into a single organisation.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “I am delighted to welcome David Brown as CEO of Transport for the North. Given David’s wealth of experience in the region’s transport sector, he is perfectly placed to bring momentum to this vital new organisation.

“We set up TfN so the region can exercise real power and make its voice heard on how we can best invest in transport. That’s why we have given it £30m to take forward its work over the next three years. I look forward to working with David as together we transform northern transport and build the Northern Powerhouse.”


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!


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.