A team of researchers are studying freight delivery in central London in order to understand how congestion, energy, and pollution impacts can be reduced.
Deliveries of goods within cities is a major source of traffic and pollution, with energy inefficient vehicles from different carrier companies competing for parking spaces as well as business. Working directly with Transport for London and a handful of innovative carriers, we are developing new understandings of the overlap of delivery schedules, algorithms, and business models in order to enable carrier co-ordination and reduce energy demands.
The team of researchers comes from UCL CASA, the University of Southampton, the University of Westminster, and Lancaster University. Combining data science, visualisation, simulation, and on-the-ground surveys of delivery systems, project members are working to help carriers adapt their practices to the modern, connected city.
Freight transport accounts for 16% of all road vehicle activity in UK cities. Last-mile urban freight particularly contributes to traffic congestion and poor air quality. The cost of congestion to London every year is in the billions of pounds and rising, while policymakers increasingly introduce initiatives to address air quality. Urban freight carriers will need to change the way they plan routes, coordinate pickups, and deliver packages in cities which continue to grow and sprawl.