UK Government examining ways to clean up city deliveries

09 August 2018

9 August 2018

Electric cargo bikes, vans, quadricycles and micro vehicles could replace vans in UK cities as part of plans to transform last-mile deliveries.

As part of government’s Last Mile and Future of mobility call for evidence documents, the move will benefit the reduction of air pollution in cities as well as lessening the impact of congestion. Many commercial vehicles are powered by diesel, which is being blamed for many of the pollution issues in Europe at present.

There are already 300,000 HGVs and over 4,000,000 vans on British roads, and with online retail sales continuing to increase, this is likely to increase further. But the papers suggest that new green delivery vehicles could replace the millions of conventionally-fuelled vans which are currently a common sight in city centres.

The work is all part of the government’s Industrial Strategy, and the work could help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, make travel safer, improve accessibility, and present enormous economic opportunities for the UK.

As part of this, the government is also confirming £12.1 million (€13.1 million) of funding for six projects working on simulation and modelling to aid the development of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV). The capability will be essential for developing, testing and proving the safety of the vehicles.

Transport Minister Jesse Norman comments: ′The UK has a long and proud history of leading the world in transport innovation and our Future of Mobility Grand Challenge is designed to ensure this continues.

′We are on the cusp of an exciting and profound change in how people, goods and services move around the country which is set to be driven by extraordinary innovation. This could bring significant benefits to people right across the country and presents enormous economic opportunities for the UK, with autonomous vehicles sales set to be worth up to £52 billion (€57.8 billion) by 2035.

′Societal changes are already changing the way people travel, with just some of the changes including people driving less overall; fewer workers commuting; a growing elderly population; and the number of people living in urban areas growing.’

UK cities are already pioneering the use of drones to support emergency services and improve infrastructure inspections, but the introduction of aerial passenger vehicles could also appear in urban areas, while the lines between taxis and buses could blur, with more on-demand transport. More use of shared transport could reduce congestion and emissions, and examples are likely to include commercial ride sharing, car rental services where users rent from one another and shared use bikes.

Changing consumer attitudes are also impacting the way transportation is taking hold of cities, with technology allowing consumers to be able to plan, book and pay for transport through their phones.

The news follows the announcement that the UK’s Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) has awarded £35 million (€39.2 million) to three low-carbon automotive powertrain projects as it aims to help the country on the path to cleaner, greener motoring.