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.”


Low-carbon champions recognised for their achievements in vehicle design and operations

Pioneers in the design, engineering and operation of low-carbon vehicles were recognised at the annual Low Carbon Champions Awards last week at Milton Keynes.

TV personality, writer and blogger Robert Llewellyn – who starred in Red Dwarf and Scrapheap Challenge – was Master of Ceremonies, presenting the Awards at the Double Tree by Hilton, MK Dons Stadium, at a networking dinner attended by more than 380 industry representatives and low-carbon transport stakeholders.

Winning the event’s top accolade, the ‘Grand Prix’ award for Outstanding Achievement in Low Carbon Transport was bus and coach manufacturer Optare for its work in the field of electric buses.

The judges said Optare had taken significant commercial risk in achieving its market leading position, with the company’s electric buses making an important contribution to improving air quality in towns and cities. They added Optare had a “real pedigree” in terms of battery technology and worked very well in building partnerships with local authorities.

Optare also scooped a second award for its electric buses, alongside joint winner Scania GB, in the Low Carbon Heavy Duty Vehicle Manufacturer of the Year Award – a category that Freight in the City was proud to sponsor.

Truck manufacturer Scania was recognised for the development of its HGV gas chassis. The judges said: “Scania has been observing and evaluating the market and then delivered an exceptionally good product with lower associated risk.”

Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership MD Andy Eastlake said: “The winning entries – and those recognised as runners-up and shortlisted – are exciting examples of a vibrant and innovative low-carbon road transport sector in the UK that is going from strength to strength.”

The judging panel comprised 21 senior executives from across the range of organisations with a stake in the low-carbon road transport agenda.

Michael Hurwitz, director, Energy, Technology & International at the Department for Transport and one of the judges, said: “These awards are a fantastic opportunity to recognise the achievements of the low-carbon transport sector and to celebrate the excellence of UK innovation. It is exciting to see such vibrant ideas and cutting-edge technologies as the government continues to support industry with £500m invested in low-emission vehicles over the next five years.”

The awards took place on the first night of the annual Cenex LCV2015 event that took place last week at Millbrook Proving Ground and showcased the latest vehicles and initiatives in the low-carbon vehicle sector.

Robert Evans, chief executive of Cenex, said: “The LCV2015 event brings the low-carbon vehicle community together for two days of technology showcasing and networking, with the evening dinner extending valuable networking time.”


‘Grand Prix Award’: Outstanding Achievement in Low Carbon Transport (Winner of winners)

  • Winner: Optare

Outstanding Individual in Promoting Low Carbon Transport

  • Joint Award: Professor Neville Jackson, Ricardo; Dr Doug Parr, Greenpeace UK

Low Carbon Car /Van Manufacturer of the Year

  •  Winner: Mitsubishi Motors UK

Low Carbon Heavy Duty Vehicle Manufacturer of the Year

  •  Joint Winners: Optare and Scania GB

Low Carbon Vehicle Operator of the Year

  •  Winner: Dundee City Council

Low Carbon Fuel Initiative of the Year

  •  Winner: Convert to Green Ltd

2015 Award for Low Carbon Innovation by an SME

  •  Joint Winners: Avid Technology; Wirth Research

Low Carbon Road Transport Initiative of the Year

  •  Winner: GENeco

2014 Outstanding Low Carbon Publication or Report

  •  Winner: Urban Foresight


Cleaner freight to play its part in delivering government’s air quality strategy

Cleaner freight deliveries will play an important role in helping the government achieve the aims set out in its draft national air quality strategy launched this week.

A series of national and local measures have been combined to create a UK action plan to bring levels of nitrogen dioxide within EU legal limits by 2020, or by 2025 in Greater London.

Road transport remains the dominant source of pollution in areas where the UK is exceeding European legal NO2 limits, producing around 80% of harmful emissions.

This is despite an average 15% reduction in roadside NO2 emissions since 2010.

However significantly more action is now needed to reach EU air quality compliance, particularly in major cities such as London, Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Southampton and Derby.

Plans released for consultation this week outline how new, green technology can be used to create communities where people want to live and work, boosting the economy and make the UK a world leader in low-emission technology.

Local authorities facing particular challenges are encouraged to explore action such as creating Clean Air Zones, introducing low-emission buses and taxis, and using intelligent data to inform new road layouts and tackle congestion.

Central and local government will also be incentivised through funding and new procurement frameworks to ensure they lead by example and include low-emission vehicles among their own urban fleets and insist on greener vehicles in tender documents.

Freight grants would remain available to encourage modal shift to rail or water where possible, which has so far removed 800,000 lorry journeys from the UK’s roads annually.

Further air quality benefits are also expected as operators continue the move towards Euro V1 vehicles on their fleets, or the retrofitting of clean technology to older vehicles.

In addition, the data continuing to be gathered from the Low Carbon Truck Trial launched in 2010 will help the government understand the environmental benefits of running natural gas and dual-fuel HGVs, as well as establishing a national network of refuelling points.

Further trials specifically into developing a test protocol for measuring the greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions from dual-fuel vehicles (gas/diesel) or dedicated gas HGVs are also planned for 2015/2016.

The government’s 10-year longer semi-trailer trial of 14.6m and 15.65m vehicles will also continue, with revised estimations of carbon emissions saved by the end of the trial now standing at 3,000 tonnes. To date, 1,614 of the allocated 1,800 longer trailers are already on the road.

Finally, to encourage uptake of alternative-fuel vehicles by operators that may have been put off by the weight penalty the technology attracts, the government will now seek to allow an extra one tonne for HGVs using alternative powertrains. It will launch a consultation later this year to extend the new permitted weight levels allowed for international journeys introduced to EU Directive to 96/53/EC in May this year, to domestic operations.

The government will also look to encourage the use of urban consolidation centres and last-mile deliveries on low-emission vehicles in major towns and cities.

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said: “The move towards embracing clean technology – including the government’s ambition that almost every car and van on our roads will be zero emission by 2050 – will be incentivised by at least £200m of government grants for plug-in cars and vans and £50m of support for local authorities and transport operators to convert their taxis and clean up bus fleets. The move will also generate new jobs and significantly boost our growing economy.”

A consultation on the draft air quality strategy will run until 6 November.


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.


Two days to go until the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle Event 2015

In under 48 hours time the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle (LCV) Event 2015 will welcome over 2,500 visitors to Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire for the annual two-day exhibition, seminar and ride & drive experience.

Last year’s event set a new record attendance with 2,451 visitors, and this year Cenex is anticipating beating this record.

Taking place on 9 and 10 September 2015, the event attracts a range of delegates from the automotive and energy & infrastructure sectors, government & local authorities, OEMs, and academia.

On Day 1, Anna Soubry, MP, minister for small business, industry and enterprise, will give the key note address in the main plenary hall, while Jaguar Land Rover will be running a workshop on the Evoque_e project.

The Sustainable Vehicle Technology Conference will take place on 10 September while Innovate UK will hold a workshop on the Low Carbon Truck Trial during the afternoon on Day 2.

A delegation of international visitors will be attending as guests of the Automotive Investment Organisation of UK Trade and Investment.

Robert Evans, CEO of Cenex, said the 2015 event has a “more diverse and comprehensive seminar programme including over 100 presenters across four parallel sessions”.

“We have also extended the steering pad resulting in more vehicles available for a ride and drive experience,” he added.

According to Joe Greenwell, CEO of UKTI‘s Automotive Investment Organisation, the event provides the ideal platform to showcase the UK’s expertise in low-carbon vehicles.

“Over £1bn of industry and government money is being invested in the Advanced Propulsion Centre to power the design and commercialisation of low-carbon engines and transmissions, while a further £900m in the subsidies and infrastructure is being provided for ultra-low emission vehicles,” said Greenwell.

On the evening of 9 September, the Low Carbon Champions Awards will be presented at a networking dinner. Freight in the City is sponsoring the Low Carbon Heavy Duty Vehicle Manufacturer of the Year category at the awards.


Commercially-viable exhaust heat recovery system for trucks under development

The University of Brighton and engineering company Libertine are developing a commercially-viable exhaust heat recovery system for HGVs.

Part-funded by the government through Innovate UK, the heat recovery project uses a pair of Libertine’s linear free-piston expanders to convert waste exhaust heat into electrical power.

Dr Rob Morgan (pictured), project lead and reader in the university’s School of Computing, Engineering & Mathematics, said: “The free-piston system offers efficiency and cost benefits over conventional turbine and screw expanders, thereby increasing market uptake of the technology in the commercial vehicle market and reducing CO2 emissions.”

He added: “The potential reduction in CO2 emissions from successful commercialisation of the technology would benefit the road haulage industry through reduced operating costs and society as a whole in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

The system, which the designers said is “set to revolutionise engines with more efficient and greener technology” is scheduled to complete its first test programme by the end of this year.

It will be on display with a number of other breakthrough projects at the world’s first technology forum for linear power systems technology researchers and application developers: ‘Linear Power 2015’ at the university from 7-8 September.



SGN targets fuel wastage by transforming driver behaviour

Gas Distribution company SGN is implementing a driver performance improvement programme across its vehicle fleet following a trial that saw it reduce the volume of fuel wasted through idling by almost 68%.

“The company was wasting 13,000 litres a month through vehicle idling alone, but now we are able to provide drivers and managers with visibility around problem trends and the reasons why they occur,” said Chris Stone, head of finance at SGN.

The company will be using TomTom Telematic’s driver behaviour improvement system, OptiDrive 360, in order to monitor speeding, driving events, idling and gear shifting and constant speed

During the initial 100 vehicle trial, SGN also improved average fuel consumption by 11%.

It is anticipating saving around £1m following the implementation of the programme across its 2,000-strong fleet.

“The finance department at SGN recognised a huge opportunity for using driver performance data to transform operational efficiency and we now stand to make major savings on both fuel and maintenance,” added Stone.

The TomTom system also integrates with SGN’s fleet management provider Inchcape, allowing them to conduct pre-emptive maintenance work when required.

SGN delivers gas to 5.8 million homes and businesses across Scotland and the south and south-east of England, operating in both urban and rural areas.

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.

Major cities must help freight industry adopt retimed deliveries as congestion levels soar

Major cities must take the lead in helping freight operators adopt retimed deliveries as congestion levels continue to surge.

Following data announced yesterday by INRIX that showed London topped a 25-strong European poll of the most gridlocked cities, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) said it was essential for regional cities to ensure freight was able to flow freely.

Malcom Bingham, head of policy, strategic road network, said congestion was a significant and costly issue for the freight sector, particularly in London. The FTA has calculated that for every minute the largest HGVs are stuck in traffic can cost an operator around £1.

Drivers in London spent an average 96 hours stuck in traffic jams in the capital last year, up 17% on the previous year and racing past second-placed Brussels with an average 74 hours of delays. Those in Greater Manchester wasted 52 hours, while Merseyside and Greater Belfast experienced 37 hours of delays.

Bingham told Freight in the City that regional urban areas must help introduce a package of measures that will allow freight movements to flow freely, such as priority routes and out-of-hours deliveries, which were proven to work successfully during the London 2012 Olympics.

“London’s had the experience and seen the benefits to retiming deliveries, but there are other cities waking up to the fact that this can be an option,” he said. Large cities such as Leeds and Manchester, for example, will be exploring such opportunities.

Buy-in from the entire logistics supply chain is essential to get retiming initiatives up and running, as operators often face a challenge in getting their customers to participate and understand the benefits, as well as operational requirements of ensuring staff are available to receive goods at alternative times.

“The Olympics was a good example,” said Bingham. “Customers realised they would have a problem with their deliveries and were open to change. That’s half the problem, getting customers on board.”

He added it was important for city councils, planners and Local Enterprise Partnerships to assist freight operators by helping to educate their customers. The devolution of transport powers to city regions will also provide an impetus to get new freight initiatives up and running outside of the capital.

“Keeping freight traffic moving is good for the economy and good for the environment,” said Bingham.

The INRIX National Traffic Scorecard Report put the UK in fifth place in the country congestion poll, in which Belgium scooped the top spot, followed by the Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourg.

Congestion levels rose in more than half (53%) of European cities, which correlated with each country’s economic growth as they began to recover from recession.

A recent study carried out by INRIX and the Centre for Economic Business Research (CEBR) estimated that betwwen 2013 and 2030, the total cumulative cost of congestion to the UK economy would be £307bn, with the annual cost of congestion set to rise by 63% to £21.4bn over the same period.


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.”