Centre for Sustainable Road Freight 2018-2023

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Engineering

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.

Planned Impact

The SRF pursues impact via the structure and content of its research programme; the makeup of its partnerships and its focus on implementation of outputs.

ROAD FREIGHT OPERATORS: facing increasing commercial and environmental pressure, seek improvements in energy consumption and CO2 emissions (targeting 80% reduction on 1990 levels by 2050), despite increasing freight demand, approximately in-line with GDP growth. The SRF will explore radical concepts for collaboration between operators, revising operations (location and layout of warehousing, co-loading, novel logistics options...) with logistics systems modelling tools to enable assessment of options using extensive real-time operational data. Operators will be aided by tools for fleet decarbonisation, planning logistics operations; and more efficient vehicles. Assessing alternative energy vectors will inform trade-offs between cost and environment. Vehicle drivers strongly influence fuel costs, emissions and safety and are influenced by the level of automation and connectivity. Driver behaviour, feedback of real-time information and training will be addressed.

ROAD FREIGHT TRANSPORT CUSTOMERS: Under margin pressure, companies seek trade-offs between logistics, environmental and other costs, and make ever-more complex strategic corporate decisions. Having models, tools and dashboards to gain deeper insight into decisions such as transport mode and horizontal collaboration opportunities and understanding the impact of future policy could mean the difference between success and failure. The programme explores some of the deeper long-term commercial and social drivers of freight demand and behaviour and how these will affect all parts of the sector.

ROAD FREIGHT SUPPLY CHAIN: This work helps manufacturers of vehicles and trailers (vehicle bodies, tyres, suspensions, power-trains, steering, brakes, aerodynamics) and providers of warehousing and material handling systems. Software advances cover decision support and planning tools for operations at all scales, support logistics and warehousing as well as data collection and management. Improvements here ripple out across the supply chain: vehicle improvements translate into lower fuel consumption, reduced costs and environmental performance.

POLICY MAKERS: The sector is complex and corporate decisions are driven by policy and vice versa. Infrastructure investments play out over many years under many influences, so integrated modelling tools are essential to understand trade-offs. Gathering data, (e.g. around congestion charging or zoning for business) is expensive so the research explores automatic vehicle tracking from video. Multi-modal transport and policies impact the cost and social benefit of road freight and so studies into mode choice and rebound are vital to avoid unintended consequences of policy decisions. Major infrastructure investments in energy provision and location will be informed by modelling energy and freight together to understand the interplay - especially as electric and gas-powered vehicles become more significant.

SOCIETY: All are affected by the road transport system; benefits, costs and its social and environmental impact. The SRF's work will affect citizens through the decisions of policy makers and freight transport operators and the resulting performance of the system, and in the performance, safety and acceptability of the vehicles themselves. Whatever policy and corporate decisions are made, society has to live with the trade-offs, exemplified by impacts on global climate change and local air quality.

INTERNATIONAL: Climate change is a global issue and the road freight fleets of developing countries will dwarf those of the UK. So the SRF is establishing partner centres in China and Africa (and India in future) to understand and address decarbonisation of freight in these markets and to disseminate research results, data and insights to maximise global impact.
 
Description We have confirmed the usefulness of tow tank testing for investigations of trailer underbody flows. New knowledge on trailer wake flows has been established, linking flow structure and unsteadiness to drag and geometric details. A number of add-on devices have been tested and their effect on drag and flow structure has been quantified. Recommendations for methods to improve the aerodynamic performance of trailers will be made in due course.

We have developed novel methods for collecting data from vehicles in-service and from live logistics systems. We have developed methods for comparing vehicle performance in service using 'big data' methods and data collected in-service.

We have generated some major findings about prospects for electrification of road freight. We are currently developing a large-scale applications.
Exploitation Route The findings will help to reduce the environmental impact of road transport. Aerodynamic drag savings of the order of 10% (and more) look entirely feasibly and this can reduce fuel consumption by around 5%.

We have developed novel light-weighting solutions which will generate up to 10% reduction in fuel consumption.
Sectors Energy,Environment,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Transport

URL http://www.csrf.ac.uk
 
Description We have shared data with industrial project partners who have used this information to help with decision-making for long haul road freight fuel reduction measures. It is too early for significant impact but in the long term this will help reduce the environmental impact of road freight and may lead to wider societal consequences.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Transport
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Integrated Energy Systems for Commercial Vehicles
Amount £117,886 (GBP)
Funding ID 133493 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2018 
End 03/2019
 
Description Up-Featured Trailers for Future Logistics
Amount £183,595 (GBP)
Funding ID 133620 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2018 
End 06/2019
 
Description Wireless Charging in Micro-Fulfilment Centres for Last Mile Delivery
Amount £59,142 (GBP)
Funding ID 133811 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2019 
End 03/2019
 
Title SRF Optimiser 
Description A web-based decision support tool that calculates GHG emissions, energy consumption and costs associated with a company's road freight transport operation. It models the effects of 29 carbon-reducing measures, the tool assesses the GHG, energy and cost implications of a range of technologies and management practices that can be applied to a transport fleet. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Application of the tool by freight operators and other researchers to investigate decarbonisation strategies 
URL http://www.csrf.ac.uk/srf-optimiser-2/
 
Title Dataset supporting publication entitled: 'Estimation of trailer off-tracking using visual odometry' 
Description Zip file containing raw data 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Research data supporting How Well Do We Know the Future of CO2 Emissions? Projecting Fleet Emissions from Light Duty Vehicle Technology Drivers 
Description Matlab fig files to recreate the figures used in the publication. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Description Chevron 
Organisation Chevron Corporation
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 2014
 
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 Denby Transport Ltd 
Organisation Denby Transport
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Ongoing research
Collaborator Contribution Contributions in-kind, including provision of unique special-purpose articulated link trailer for testing
Impact Active path-following steering system licensed to industrial partner
Start Year 2013
 
Description FTA 
Organisation Freight Transport Association (FTA)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
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 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 Haldex 
Organisation Haldex
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 • 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 Haldex Brake Products Ltd 
Organisation Haldex
Country Sweden 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2006
 
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 RHA 
Organisation Road Haulage Association
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Provided advice and technology to help reduce fuel consumption and decarbonise road freight vehicles
Collaborator Contribution Advice and strategic direction for the research
Impact All Centre outcomes
Start Year 2015
 
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 Tesco 
Organisation Tesco Plc
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 Transdek 
Organisation Transdek
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 2014
 
Description VCL 
Organisation Value Chain Laboratories
Country Unknown 
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