Centre for Sustainable Road Freight 2018-2023

Lead Research Organisation: University of Westminster
Department Name: School of Architecture & the City

Abstract

This programme brings together teams from Herriot Watt University, the University of Cambridge, the University of Westminster and Durham University: providing a multidisciplinary focus on the research needed to enable and underpin radical measures to decarbonise the UK's road freight transport sector. The researchers are augmented by a consortium of 22 industrial partners, drawn from users, suppliers and participants in the road logistics sector. These industrial members provide advice and guidance as well as a rapid route to prototyping and implementation of solutions.

The first 5-year programme, conducted by the same team, laid the foundations and showed that radical measures are necessary to hit the UK Government's CO2 reduction targets. It also showed that integration between logistics solutions, vehicle technology, and policy measures is essential. This experience has shaped the design of the proposed programme.

The new research programme will run for 5 years and has three themes: (i) data collection and management, (ii) logistics systems, and (iii) vehicle technology. A portfolio of 23 projects spans the themes.

The first strand of projects (funded mainly by EPSRC), will focus on reducing barriers to promising strategic, deep decarbonisation technologies and solutions. These projects will create and integrate new data, new modelling tools and decision support systems, to create new insights about technological and logistical solutions, compelling arguments for their early adoption and recommendations for the necessary policy measures. Driven by a desire to model and then quantify the benefits of radical logistics options, the models will be developed and validated with data from real freight operations by the industrial partners, collected by novel automated means. Alternative vehicle fuels and power trains and ways of significantly reducing energy consumption will be investigated.

The second strand of projects (funded mainly by EPSRC and industry) will focus on extending and optimising the capabilities of promising technologies and on increasing their impact when applied to decarbonisation of road freight. Applied research into the dynamics of logistics mode decisions and testing of novel logistics options such as horizontal collaboration, co-loading and reorganisation of logistics infrastructure, will be enabled by tools developed in the first strand. Technologies developed in the first 5 years of the Centre for Sustainable Road Freight (SRF) will be tested in two separate full-scale field trials with consortium partners, funded by InnovateUK. Road-mapping will provide a mechanism for corporates, government departments and researchers to build a common view of the future.

The projects in the third strand (funded by Energy Technologies Institute) will focus on implementation of tools and practices that offer immediate impact. These include novel and powerful software systems for industry to use in data collection and for vehicle characterisation and fleet decarbonisation. Research into the drivers of strategy and policy will, likewise identify the most powerful ways to influence adoption of technologies and logistics solutions.

The Road Freight Systems Living Laboratory ('Living Lab') is the central integrating element of the SRF's five-year research programme. Almost every project in the Centre will be part of it. The Living Lab will provide a test bed to measure and model freight operations; to develop technical and logistical interventions based on real-time logistics data; to test the interventions in simulation; to develop decision support tools (several based on work done in the first 5 years of the SRF) and eventually to implement and trial the tools and systems in practice. The Living Lab will be based on an integrated software and data platform that is currently being built by the research team and industry partners.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The research on the initial SEF grant is now completed, though the operation of the Centre for Sustainable Road Freight is continuing under industry funding and a follow-on grant from EPSRC (2018-2023). The main deliverables so far have been: * SRF Optimiser - a tool for freight operators to assess their carbon footprint and investigate the benefits and cost effectiveness of a wide range of possible interventions, both technical and operational. This tool is available free-of-charge on the web and is being used by an increasing number of freight operators. * Aerodynamic improvements - a package of aerodynamic improvement to a heavy vehicle which has been shown to provide a 7% reduction in fuel consumption under highway conditions without affecting payload capacity. Vehicles built to this specification are now being purchased by three major fleets: Waitrose, Turners and Warburtons. Approximately 100 vehicles have entered commercial service so far. * Methodology and technology for measuring the key technical parameters of heavy goods vehicles during normal operations - for use in calculations of fuel consumption. These include the engine map, aerodynamic drag and tyre rolling resistance. * Definitive measurements of methane slip and Greenhouse gas emissions from gas-diesel dual-fuel vehicles to inform decisions about their future use and design. * A prototype urban delivery vehicle with trailer steering and hydraulic regenerative braking system, capable of reducing fuel consumption by approximately 40% overall compared with conventional urban delivery vehicles. * Assessment of opportunities and recommendations for implementation of systems for horizontal collaboration between freight operators to minimize empty running and hence reduce fuel consumption and emissions. * The first version of roadmap for decarbonising the UK's road freight system. * A major report for the UK Committee for Climate Change, recommending national decarbonisation strategies for the 5th Carbon Budget.
Exploitation Route Road Freight Industry: practical tools and advice for reducing fuel consumption and emissions, Government: policy roadmaps and strategies for decarbonising road freight
Sectors Transport

 
Description We have written two evidence review reports for the Government Office for Science 'Future of Mobility' report, and contributed a chapter to the OECD/ITF 'Policies to Extend the Life or Road Assets' report. The dissemination of this information will help national and international policy makers to develop policy measures and interventions aimed at long-term improvements of sustainability of road freight transport and logistics systems. It is too early for significant impact but in the long term this will help reduce the environmental impact of road freight, extend the life or road infrastructure and may lead to wider societal consequences.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Energy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Transport
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description National Infrastructure Commission (2019) Better Delivery: The Challenge for Freight, Freight Study final report, National Infrastructure Commission (UoW took part in several meetings with NIC as part of their freight study. https://www.nic.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Better-Delivery-April-2019.pdf
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
Impact National Infrastructure Commission (2019) Better Delivery: The Challenge for Freight, Freight Study final report, National Infrastructure Commission (UoW took part in several meetings with NIC as part of their freight study). Advice on how deliveries can be improved. https://www.nic.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Better-Delivery-April-2019.pdf
URL https://www.nic.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Better-Delivery-April-2019.pdf
 
Description Denby Transport 
Organisation Denby Transport
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution • Members of the Consortium will receive free-of-charge access to the Logistics database and tools for analysing the data, as applicable. • The members have the opportunity for trial and early adoption of technology and methods developed in the research. • Members of the Consortium receive licenses to exploit any intellectual property that results from the research, on favoured terms. These terms and arrangements for the ownership of intellectual property are broadly in line with European practice. • Computer simulation programs and data analysis software that result from the work of the researchers are available for internal use by the member companies. • Testing equipment built by the researchers and located in the universities is available for use by members of the Consortium. The designs of such equipment are available for internal use by the member companies, should they wish to manufacture duplicate facilities. • Members of the Consortium can gain access to research facilities and equipment in the University at reduced rates, subject to the availability of equipment.
Collaborator Contribution • In particular, secure funding helps to maintain the current level of activity and expertise in the research groups and provides some facilities that cannot be obtained from other sources of funds. • Researchers benefit from the close contact with industry that results from the Consortium, and the benefits of obtaining an industrial perspective on research projects. Further research opportunities are continually created through discussions with the industrial partners.
Impact N/A
Start Year 2013
 
Description Goodyear 
Organisation Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Members of the Consortium will receive free-of-charge access to the Logistics database and tools for analysing the data, as applicable. • The members have the opportunity for trial and early adoption of technology and methods developed in the research. • Members of the Consortium receive licenses to exploit any intellectual property that results from the research, on favoured terms. These terms and arrangements for the ownership of intellectual property are broadly in line with European practice. • Computer simulation programs and data analysis software that result from the work of the researchers are available for internal use by the member companies. • Testing equipment built by the researchers and located in the universities is available for use by members of the Consortium. The designs of such equipment are available for internal use by the member companies, should they wish to manufacture duplicate facilities. • Members of the Consortium can gain access to research facilities and equipment in the University at reduced rates, subject to the availability of equipment.
Collaborator Contribution Cash contributions of consortium subscriptions plus contributions in-kind: attendance at meetings, provision of corporate data, expertise and assistance with scoping, planning and executing projects. • Secure funding helps to maintain the current level of activity and expertise in the research groups and provides some facilities that cannot be obtained from other sources of funds. • Researchers benefit from the close contact with industry that results from the Consortium, and the benefits of obtaining an industrial perspective on research projects. Further research opportunities are continually created through discussions with the industrial partners.
Impact Work is still in progress
Start Year 2013
 
Description John Lewis 
Organisation John Lewis Partnership
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Members of the Consortium will receive free-of-charge access to the Logistics database and tools for analysing the data, as applicable. • The members have the opportunity for trial and early adoption of technology and methods developed in the research. • Members of the Consortium receive licenses to exploit any intellectual property that results from the research, on favoured terms. These terms and arrangements for the ownership of intellectual property are broadly in line with European practice. • Computer simulation programs and data analysis software that result from the work of the researchers are available for internal use by the member companies. • Testing equipment built by the researchers and located in the universities is available for use by members of the Consortium. The designs of such equipment are available for internal use by the member companies, should they wish to manufacture duplicate facilities. • Members of the Consortium can gain access to research facilities and equipment in the University at reduced rates, subject to the availability of equipment.
Collaborator Contribution Cash contributions of consortium subscriptions plus contributions in-kind: attendance at meetings, provision of corporate data, expertise and assistance with scoping, planning and executing projects. • Secure funding helps to maintain the current level of activity and expertise in the research groups and provides some facilities that cannot be obtained from other sources of funds. • Researchers benefit from the close contact with industry that results from the Consortium, and the benefits of obtaining an industrial perspective on research projects. Further research opportunities are continually created through discussions with the industrial partners.
Impact Work is still in progress
Start Year 2013
 
Description Optrak 
Organisation Optrak Distribution Software Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Members of the Consortium will receive free-of-charge access to the Logistics database and tools for analysing the data, as applicable. • The members have the opportunity for trial and early adoption of technology and methods developed in the research. • Members of the Consortium receive licenses to exploit any intellectual property that results from the research, on favoured terms. These terms and arrangements for the ownership of intellectual property are broadly in line with European practice. • Computer simulation programs and data analysis software that result from the work of the researchers are available for internal use by the member companies. • Testing equipment built by the researchers and located in the universities is available for use by members of the Consortium. The designs of such equipment are available for internal use by the member companies, should they wish to manufacture duplicate facilities. • Members of the Consortium can gain access to research facilities and equipment in the University at reduced rates, subject to the availability of equipment.
Collaborator Contribution Cash contributions of consortium subscriptions plus contributions in-kind: attendance at meetings, provision of corporate data, expertise and assistance with scoping, planning and executing projects. • Secure funding helps to maintain the current level of activity and expertise in the research groups and provides some facilities that cannot be obtained from other sources of funds. • Researchers benefit from the close contact with industry that results from the Consortium, and the benefits of obtaining an industrial perspective on research projects. Further research opportunities are continually created through discussions with the industrial partners.
Impact Work is still in progress
Start Year 2013
 
Description SDC Trailers 
Organisation SDC Trailers
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Members of the Consortium will receive free-of-charge access to the Logistics database and tools for analysing the data, as applicable. • The members have the opportunity for trial and early adoption of technology and methods developed in the research. • Members of the Consortium receive licenses to exploit any intellectual property that results from the research, on favoured terms. These terms and arrangements for the ownership of intellectual property are broadly in line with European practice. • Computer simulation programs and data analysis software that result from the work of the researchers are available for internal use by the member companies. • Testing equipment built by the researchers and located in the universities is available for use by members of the Consortium. The designs of such equipment are available for internal use by the member companies, should they wish to manufacture duplicate facilities. • Members of the Consortium can gain access to research facilities and equipment in the University at reduced rates, subject to the availability of equipment.
Collaborator Contribution Cash contributions of consortium subscriptions plus contributions in-kind: attendance at meetings, provision of corporate data, expertise and assistance with scoping, planning and executing projects. • Secure funding helps to maintain the current level of activity and expertise in the research groups and provides some facilities that cannot be obtained from other sources of funds. • Researchers benefit from the close contact with industry that results from the Consortium, and the benefits of obtaining an industrial perspective on research projects. Further research opportunities are continually created through discussions with the industrial partners.
Impact Work is still in progress
Start Year 2013
 
Description Sainsbury 
Organisation Sainsbury's
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Provided advice and technology to help reduce fuel consumption and decarbonise road freight vehicles
Collaborator Contribution Cash contributions through membership subscriptions Provided advice and strategic direction for research programme
Impact All SRF Centre research outputs
Start Year 2015
 
Description Turners 
Organisation Turners (Soham) Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Provided advice and technology to help reduce fuel consumption and decarbonise road freight vehicles
Collaborator Contribution Cash contributions through membership subscriptions Provided advice and strategic direction for research programme Provided access to vehicles, drivers and data
Impact All SRF Centre research outputs
Start Year 2015
 
Description VCL 
Organisation Value Chain Laboratories
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Networking with other partners Exposure to industry Product ideas
Collaborator Contribution Cash contributions through member subscriptions Software engineering support
Impact SRF Optimiser - software
Start Year 2015
 
Description Volvo 
Organisation Volvo Trucks
Country Sweden 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Members of the Consortium will receive free-of-charge access to the Logistics database and tools for analysing the data, as applicable. • The members have the opportunity for trial and early adoption of technology and methods developed in the research. • Members of the Consortium receive licenses to exploit any intellectual property that results from the research, on favoured terms. These terms and arrangements for the ownership of intellectual property are broadly in line with European practice. • Computer simulation programs and data analysis software that result from the work of the researchers are available for internal use by the member companies. • Testing equipment built by the researchers and located in the universities is available for use by members of the Consortium. The designs of such equipment are available for internal use by the member companies, should they wish to manufacture duplicate facilities. • Members of the Consortium can gain access to research facilities and equipment in the University at reduced rates, subject to the availability of equipment.
Collaborator Contribution Cash contributions of consortium subscriptions plus contributions in-kind: attendance at meetings, provision of corporate data, expertise and assistance with scoping, planning and executing projects. • Secure funding helps to maintain the current level of activity and expertise in the research groups and provides some facilities that cannot be obtained from other sources of funds. • Researchers benefit from the close contact with industry that results from the Consortium, and the benefits of obtaining an industrial perspective on research projects. Further research opportunities are continually created through discussions with the industrial partners.
Impact Work is still in progress
Start Year 2014
 
Description 6th International Workshop on Sustainable Road Freight 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Around 100 participants representing academia, business, policy and industry trade bodies attended the 6th International Workshop on Sustainable Road Freight, Cambridge, Dec 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Julian Allen participated in an Industrial Logistics Sounding Board meeting on 12 November 2019 in London between the Greater London Authority, London boroughs, and industrial members to discuss logistics land in London, as an input to the Mayor of London's ongoing work on the London Plan. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Julian Allen participated in an Industrial Logistics Sounding Board meeting on 12 November 2019 in London between the Greater London Authority, London boroughs, and industrial members to discuss logistics land in London, as an input to the Mayor of London's ongoing work on the London Plan.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Julian Allen was interviewed by a journalist for an article she wrote on the environmental sustainability of last-mile deliveries in The Guardian newspaper: Emine Saner (2020) Delivery disaster: the hidden environmental cost of your online shopping, The Guardian, 17 February 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/news/shortcuts/2020/feb/17/hidden-costs-of-online-delivery-environment 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Julian Allen was interviewed by a journalist for an article she wrote on the environmental sustainability of last-mile deliveries in The Guardian newspaper:
Emine Saner (2020) Delivery disaster: the hidden environmental cost of your online shopping, The Guardian, 17 February 2020.
https://www.theguardian.com/news/shortcuts/2020/feb/17/hidden-costs-of-online-delivery-environment
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.theguardian.com/news/shortcuts/2020/feb/17/hidden-costs-of-online-delivery-environment
 
Description Presentation at the annual Road Haulage Association conference: Move to low carbon road freight 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation at the annual Road Haulage Association conference. Title: Move to low carbon road freight
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019