Report Sets Out New Vision For Urban Freight

‘Delivering the future’ calls for new national freight strategy

A new report from pteg highlights the essential role of urban freight in ensuring the effective functioning of the UK economy and presents a fresh vision designed to safeguard this role, as well as protect the environment and quality of life for communities. ‘Delivering the future: New approaches to urban freight’ could provide a starting point for a broader, nationwide freight strategy to provide direction and leadership to this vitally important industry and its stakeholders.

The freight and logistics sector contributes £100bn to the UK economy and employs 1 in 12 of the country’s working people, delivering everything from the food in our supermarkets to the medicines in our hospitals, with cities frequently the ultimate destination for consignments. The report finds that the approach taken to freight is a key factor in determining our success, not only in boosting economic growth, but also in tackling other issues high on the policy agenda including creating safer conditions for cyclists and pedestrians, improving air quality and developing smart cities.

Geoff Inskip, lead Director General for Integration at pteg said:

“For our urban areas, getting freight right is part of a much wider debate about what kind of cities we want to live in and how we want them to look and feel. The movement of goods brings enormous benefits, but also challenges for our cities. Smart cities will embrace the opportunity this report presents to create cleaner, safer and more attractive environments for residents, businesses and investors alike.”

To maximise the industry’s ability to positively affect these areas, ‘Delivering the future’ sets out a new vision for safe, smart and clean urban freight. It envisages that every opportunity should be taken for freight to make its way to urban areas by rail or water, either directly into those areas, or into the major distribution parks that serve them. It argues that those distribution sites should be located so that it is practical for goods to travel the last mile(s) into urban centres using zero/low emission modes. These last mile journeys should be achieved as safely, unobtrusively and with as little environmental impact as possible.

The report explores a number of ideas that could assist in achieving this vision, from making more use of city rail stations as out-of-hours freight hubs to incentivising and enforcing good industry standards and from a last mile innovation challenge fund to improving vehicle design and the training of road users.

Geoff Inskip continued:

“We hope that the vision for urban freight presented in this report will provide a starting point for a national freight strategy, one which will help to fill the current policy vacuum on freight at national level and ensure that freight operates in a way that is efficient for the industry and taxpayer, but which is not at the expense of communities and the environment.”