The London Assembly has outlined a number of ideas in order to tackle congestion in the capital.
In the Assembly’s latest report “London Stalling”, it estimated that congestion in the capital cost London’s economy £5.5bn in the 2015/16 financial year, a rise of 30% compared with 2012/13.
According to the Assembly, vans make up around 80% of commercial traffic in London, with LCV traffic increasing from 2.3bn miles per year in 2012 to 2.6bn miles in 2015, with much of the rise blamed on the booming internet shopping market.
In order to reduce congestion, the Assembly’s transport committee called on Transport for London and the city’s boroughs to relax restrictions on night-time deliveries, similar to what happened during the 2012 Olympic Games, however, the group accepted any changes could create noise issues for residents.
“Night deliveries proved very successful during the 2012 Olympics in London and indeed [logistics company] Geodis is pushing forward with major plans for increased night deliveries to businesses in the south of England, having successfully trialled them in Scotland,” Parcelhero’s head of consumer research, David Jinks told What Van?
The Assembly also called on TfL to pilot a ban on personal deliveries for staff to its offices, with the possibility of extending the practice to all Greater London Authority group premises, and promoting the change to other employers, should the trial be deemed to be a success.
TfL should also look to expand its ‘click and collect’ offerings at Tube and National Rail stations, the Assembly suggested. “This service allows consumers to pick up packages at convenient locations, as part of journeys they are already making. Click and collect has the potential to cut congestion by allowing delivery vehicles to reduce the number of locations they must travel to, and preventing duplicate road journeys caused by missed deliveries,” the report said.
At present, Argos and Amazon use Tube stations for click-and- collect, but Tesco and Sainsbury’s stopped running their services in 2015.
The Assembly has asked London’s transport body to identify stations for pilot programmes by April. “TfL can raise additional commercial revenue while helping to reduce traffic congestion,” the Assembly said.
However, the Freight Transport Association warned that not all van traffic growth is caused by online shopping. It claimed that half of all vans in London are used by tradespeople.
“Before progressing further with ideas such as restricting personal deliveries to offices, the London Government and TfL should further investigate the exact causes of the growth in van use rather than making assumptions,” said Christopher Snelling, FTA’s head of national & regional policy and public affairs.