Oxfordshire is a county in England which includes the City of Oxford (population 162.000). Oxford’s population has grown at an unprecedented rate in recent years. The city’s universities are a foundry for innovation, and there are several innovative start-ups, including in the Electric Vehicle (EV) and Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) sector.
This commitment is a central part of Oxfordshire County Council’s Local Transport and Connectivity Plan which outlines a clear vision to deliver a net-zero Oxfordshire transport and travel system that enables the county to thrive while protecting the environment and making Oxfordshire a better place to live for all residents. The LTCP sets key targets to:
- Reduce one in four car trips by 2030,
- Deliver a net-zero transport network by 2040, and
- A Have zero, or as close as possible, road fatalities or life-changing injuries by 2050 (as a signatory to Vision Zero).
Most last-mile deliveries in Oxford are currently made by vans (Light Goods Vehicles) – contributing to congestion, air quality and CO2 emissions challenges. The UK’s roads have experienced a significant growth in LGV traffic in the last 20 years: increasing by 67% and now accounting for 18% of all traffic. Some parcel carriers have started operating electric vans (eVans) in Oxford for last-mile deliveries. These have zero vehicle emissions, but still contribute to and face the same challenges of delays due to congestion and lack of parking.
Oxfordshire County Council’s Freight and Logistics Strategy sets out its priority for last mile movement to reduce the number of LGVs in towns and encourage the uptake of zero-emission vehicles – focusing on freight consolidation and more cycle freight to achieve this. Several cycle freight operators are currently working successfully in Oxford, but there are challenges to scaling up this sector, including limited sites for establishing micro consolidation centres.
GREEN-LOG intends to bring together active players in Oxford’s freight operations to address the challenges in scaling up zero emission last-mile deliveries in Oxford. Leveraging this expertise, GREEN-LOG will work in three phases:
- Focus on identifying requirements, barriers and opportunities in the use of Micro Consolidation Hubs (MCH) and Mobile Delivery Hubs (MDH) from which cycle couriers can collect parcels to complete the last mile to local delivery, and the challenge of developing and locating both MCHs and MDHs.
- Use the key factors identified from this that affect urban freight and service demand as well as spatio-temporal demand algorithms that will be developed as part of the project to produce and refine concepts for MCH and MDH solutions and locations in co-creation workshops.
- Develop those concepts to create a pilot.
Through following these phases, GREEN-LOG intends to deliver the following results in Oxford:
- Identify ideal locations where MCH and MDH could be used for last-mile delivery by cargo bike. This could include disused public urban spaces.
- Design and demonstrate the use of MCH.
- Design and demonstrate the dynamic use of MDHs based on current and predicted demand.
- Setup of a connected, remotely piloted and/or automated MDH in a test environment.