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London Light Freight Walking Trial: Pedestrian deliveries in the Fitzrovia partnership

Cross River Partnership launched the London Light Freight Walking Trial; UPS’s first walking freight trial on public land.
The London Light Freight Walking Trial

Cross River Partnership (CRP), a non-profit and impartial partnership organisation, is excited to have launched the London Light Freight Walking Trial; UPS’s first walking freight trial on public land. This forms part of the Defra-funded Clean Air Logistics for London project.

CRP has been working with The Fitzrovia Partnership, London Borough of Camden, UPS and Heal’s to bring this trial to life, which officially began on Friday 5th May. The trial serves last-mile deliveries and will support the reduction of emissions and congestion in Fitzrovia.

Walking freight is a mode of logistics where foot-based porters play a key role in deliveries and collections. Overall kilometres travelled by light goods vehicles (LGVs) could be reduced by up to 0.4% across Greater London (i.e. one in every 250 kilometres) if walking freight was expanded to its full potential in the CAZ (Central Activities Zone). (CRP’s Walking Freight Feasibility Study, May 2022).

The economic benefits of walking freight are estimated to be at least £37 million per year, due to decongestion, decarbonisation, improved air quality, minimise noise pollution and reduced road wear.

According to Defra’s Emission Factors Toolkit (EFT), we estimate that expanding walking freight could reduce London’s carbon emissions by 4.7 kilotonnes per year. UPS is conducting the e-walker trial in Fitzrovia daily, delivering packages to local residents and businesses on foot utilising an electric-assisted trolley developed by Fernhay. This trial runs until September 2024.

CRP is unlocking potential and transforming space across the logistics sector in London, to deliver solutions that make London fairer, greener and safer. The London Light Freight Walking Trial supports CRP’s vision to make London a better place to live, work and visit. CRP will be monitoring the impacts of the trial with UPS’s data from the pilot. We want to prove walking freight as a model and encourage more logistics operators to look into walking freight feasibility.

This innovative trial with e-walker trolleys is a further example of how the council is embracing new technology and approaches to reduce motor vehicle traffic and the related air pollution, in line with its transport policies. The e-walkers allow for the prompt delivery of packages to the residents and businesses of Fitzrovia without the associated increase in traffic in this busy area of the borough.

A Camden Council spokesperson

We’re delighted that Fitzrovia is being used as a trial for UPS’s first walking freight trial on public land. The demand for next-day deliveries is now a part of life and programmes that reduce the environmental impact of the cost of doing business are fully supported by The Fitzrovia Partnership and its’ business community.

This exciting initiative changes the nature of deliveries to minimise their impact on the environment by reducing congestion and emissions on Fitzrovia’s streets.

Mick Atkinson, Head of Environment and Place, The Fitzrovia Partnership

We are continuing to expand our alternative fuel fleet as we work towards reducing emissions per package. We are excited to introduce the electric-assisted walkers, developed by Fernhay, to the streets of Fitzrovia as part of our efforts to serve our customers in urban areas in a more sustainable way.

Artur Drenk, International Sustainability Director, UPS

Walking freight has real potential to reduce congestion and improve air quality, particularly in central, high density locations such as Fitzrovia. We look forward to understanding the impacts of the trial, as it’s really important to explore these innovative logistics solutions and share any learnings gained.

Fiona Coull, Senior Programme Manager, Cross River Partnership

Please see other CRP walking freight and logistics related reports and guidance:

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