How London Can Lead the World in Sustainable Deliveries With Dynamic Curb Management

March, 2022

Neil Herron

New research by the UK 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 was published to coincide with COP26. 

Freight access, congestion and air pollution are growing issues not only for London, but for all cities around the world. 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 curbside management scheme:

‘London boroughs and Transport for London should embrace dynamic curb management, which would give delivery vehicles safer and more reliable access while minimising impacts on other road users.’ 

Centre for London, 2021

Innovative curbside 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 curbside access to deliver goods and services to the right place at the right time - improving delivery certainty. A bookable, managed curbside also dynamically increases curbspace availability, giving cities more flexibility in how this scarce asset can be better utilized - 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.

A fully deployed Curbside 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 parking fines. Operators have benefitted from a 21 percent increase in productivity due to less time searching for suitable curbspace to unload goods and services (such as 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 curbspace capacity, generate positive revenues and introduce Electric Vehicle 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 tons 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.

From Gird Smarter Cities:

“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 curb management, which would give delivery vehicles safer and more reliable access while minimising impacts on other road users.’ 

We have a unique opportunity to showcase London to the world with the implementation of a dynamic, bookable curbside 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 curbspace on a first come first served basis, rather than booking delivery slots that guarantee access?’’

Simple, smart and effective, but most importantly, practical and industry-led, ‘Kerb’ is the curbside management platform that Grid Smarter Cities is developing. A solution that can be readily deployed by boroughs and scaled across the capital - helping to solve delivery problems and improve curbside access for the freight, servicing and delivery sectors; while further tackling congestion, air quality and road safety challenges.

Neil Herron is CEO Gird Smarter Cities. He can be reached at neil.herron@gridsmartercities.com