New research by the capital’s politically independent think tank, Centre for London has set out an ambitious roadmap to make deliveries and freight journeys more sustainable and efficient. The report highlights the environmental impact of existing delivery methods and is being published to coincide with COP26.
It says freight access, congestion and air pollution are growing issues for London. The Centre for London research highlights that by 2030, demand for parcels will have doubled in the capital. New, efficient and sustainable solutions are needed to meet this growth in consumer demand which offset the environmental, economic and social impacts presented across the capital by the freight industry.
The Centre for London research has provided recommendations to meet these challenges which include the implementation of a dynamic kerbside management scheme, saying, “London boroughs and Transport for London should embrace dynamic kerb management, which would give delivery vehicles safer and more reliable access while minimising impacts on other road users.”
Technology company Grid Smarter Cities says that innovative kerbside management technology is being designed with and for the freight industry to combat growing sector specific challenges.The solution provides a platform whereby fleet drivers can book slots for kerbside access to deliver goods and services to the right place at the right time – improving delivery certainty. A bookable, managed kerbside, also dynamically increases kerbspace availability, giving cities more flexibility in how this scarce asset can be better utilised – think loading bay in the morning, cargo bike delivery bay in the afternoon, “streaterie” in the evening and taxi rank by night. This flexible approach presents a win-win solution to improve city access and mobility for both the freight operators and city authorities – supporting improvements in congestion, air quality and demand issues at both a macro and hyperlocal level.
It says kerbside management is a solution with relatively low implementation costs and minimal infrastructure. Unlike other recommendations in the report this scheme can be introduced under existing policy and legislative frameworks (which prevents the need to wait for legislative change) and can be implemented with immediate effect, then scaled, embracing both borough roads and the strategic TLRN.
It adds a fully deployed Kerbside Management scheme demonstrates immediate benefits for:
- Freight, servicing and delivery operators through operational efficiencies, reduced circling and idling and safer deliveries with increased compliance and reduced PCNs. Operators have benefitted from a 21% increase in productivity due to less time searching for suitable kerbspace to unload goods and services (i.e. parcels delivered). The solution has been designed with delivery drivers at the core of the user experience.
- London boroughs, with the ability to more flexibly manage and increase the kerbspace capacity, generate positive revenues and introduce EV charging infrastructure at locations where vehicles dwell to deliver enabling ‘graze’ charging.The scheme has the potential to generate positive revenues of around £140m per annum for London.
- The environment with reduced congestion and CO2 and NOX emissions from fewer miles driven and fewer circling delivery vehicles who are seeking a suitable and safe place to unload. The scheme could save up to 15,000 tonnes of CO2 per year in London.
- The wider community through positive health outcomes from improved air quality and increased safety and a better urban realm for both residents and businesses.
“We welcome the timing of the report and the key Centre for London research recommendation that: ‘London boroughs and Transport for London should embrace dynamic kerb management, which would give delivery vehicles safer and more reliable access while minimising impacts on other road users,” commented Grid Smarter Cities’ CEO Neil Herron. “We have a unique opportunity to showcase London to the world with the implementation of a dynamic, bookable kerbside management solution that reduces congestion, improves air quality and enables businesses and communities to receive goods and services more efficiently. A solution which can be implemented now to have an immediate and quantifiable impact on reducing CO2 emissions, echoing the COP26 call for leaders to act by delivering impacts and outcomes now.
“In ten years’ time we will look back and say, “Did we really allow delivery companies to fight for kerbspace on a first come first served basis, rather than booking delivery slots that guarantee access?’’”
Grid Smarter Cities comments that simple, smart and effective but most importantly practical and industry-led, ‘Kerb’ is the kerbside management platform that it is developing. A solution that can be readily deployed by boroughs and scaled across the capital – helping to solve delivery problems and improve kerbside access for the freight, servicing and delivery sectors; while further tackling congestion, air quality and road safety challenges.
Grid will release a full research report which models the benefits of a fully deployed scheme for London before the end of 2021.
The full Centre for London research report can be found here.
(Picture – Grid Smarter Cities)