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Mayor and TfL announce plans to encourage more last mile deliveries by cargo bike

Rise in vans on London roads in large part driven by growth in online shopping

The Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL) have unveiled plans to transform how deliveries are made in the capital. The measures include making land available for ‘micro-distribution centres’ from which deliveries would be made by cargo bike.

TfL says that the movements of goods vehicles in the capital have increased by around 20 per cent since 2010, contributing to poor air quality, congestion and road danger.

Lorries and vans now account for around a fifth of London’s road traffic.

The rise is in large part being driven by online sales, which have doubled since 2012. Between 200,000 and 400,000 personal deliveries are made to offices in central London every day.

A number of measures have now been announced to encourage more sustainable delivery options.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “Freight is essential for London’s economy but for our future health and prosperity we need to be smarter about how we manage the millions of van and lorry journeys each week.

“By creating a pan-London network of micro-distribution centres and rolling out innovative click and collect points at more Tube stations, we will enable more commuters to collect packages near their home – helping reduce congestion across our city.

“Together with the introduction of our world-leading Direct Vision Standard and supporting businesses to switch to electric vans and cargo bikes, we will make freight more efficient while also reducing road danger and cleaning up London’s toxic air.”

Last month TfL trialled cargo bike deliveries to a Crossrail site at Whitechapel using cycle lanes instead of a van.

According to London cycling commissioner, Will Norman, the bikes were twice as quick as vans.



While many construction loads would of course be too large for a cargo bike, Pedal Me, who took part in the trial, pointed out that many different sized loads are sent to site.



The firm was also keen to emphasise that its bikes and trailers can transport up to 300kg at a time.

A cargo bike taxi and delivery service, Pedal Me recently smashed its Crowdcube fundraising target of £150,000 just hours into the campaign.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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BehindTheBikesheds | 5 years ago

MET will be all over that chap in the photo like a bad suit, cycling on a 'pavement' and all that shizzle! Maybe Khan can sort out the shite of the local plod and their discriminatory/unlawful actions and stop up a few roads to motor traffic full stop if he had any real interest in last mile delivery by bike and increasing cycling as a whole.

ktache | 5 years ago

Thanks for that Simon E.

Simon E | 5 years ago

Fascinating interview with about working with Sainsbury's deliveries in business mag Furnace.


Through a trial with Sainsbury’s in 2018, the duo have proven that their riders or ‘cargonauts’ can deliver as much as a van in an eight-hour shift.


By mid-summer, there will be 150 cargonauts operating out of Notting Hill. “From this hub we can deliver 58,000 tonnes of groceries per annum

Meanwhile Taras Grescoe tweeted that the CEO of DHL Express said


"Bicycles offer advantages in express delivery operations: they can bypass traffic & make up to 2x as many stops per hour as a truck. Total cost of ownership over lifetime is less than half of a van. And they generate 0 emissions."

caw35ride | 5 years ago

TNT uses bikes a lot in London, UPS has been trialling a big trike/small van in Portland. All that's needed is the will, encouraged by some pre-emptive by-laws.

A440 | 5 years ago

Seems like a good idea, but what about security? A few thugs could easily jump one of these delivery cyclists, and steal their cargo.

atgni replied to A440 | 5 years ago
A440 wrote:

... but what about security? A few thugs could easily jump one of these delivery cyclists, and steal their cargo.

Same could be said of every other delivery method. Vans regularly get stolen.

cdamian | 5 years ago

Cargo bikes also benefit from bike infrastructure.
It's nice to ask everyone to use bikes for the environment, it would be even nicer if cities would do more than just encourage it.
As someone once said: "Don't ask what cyclists can do for you, ask yourself what you can do for cyclists!" (I might remember this wrong)

growingvegtables | 5 years ago
1 like

Hmm - nice.  "Feel-good".  Ticks all the boxes.


Except for one small detail ... I got the idea that the cycle provision in much of London already heavily congested?  

janusz0 | 5 years ago

Does anybody know the name and maker of the long john in the photograph?  I like the look of the long cargo cage.  I think I've glimpsed one like it on Bishopsgate recently.

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