Local authorities’ transport planning in cities requires urgent scale-up of e-cargo bike use, according to active travel consultancy Just Ride the Bike.
Service providers must shift their operations from vans to e-cargo bikes as soon as possible to adapt to emergency transport planning measures, maintain productivity and pursue a sustainable urban servicing plan, it says.
The consultancy is engaged with the City of London Corporation, Phil Jones Associates and PedalMe to fast track an e-cargo bike pilot scheme for companies needing to maintain freight service levels in a post-lockdown UK.
It says that because of emergency road closures, widening of footways and the creation of new pop-up cycle ways bikes are going to be the fastest way of getting around cities like London, Manchester, and Birmingham as the UK eases slowly back to work.
To stay competitive, delivery companies, facilities managers, service engineers and construction firms will need to urgently rethink logistics plans, shifting vehicle movements to e-cargo bikes in and around cities.
High-tech e-assist cargo bikes can move loads of up to 150kg even without a trailer. Organisations such as FedEx, DHL, Co-op, the Royal Mail, and the NHS (for blood supplies) are already using e-cargo bikes for the last mile of deliveries.
Just Ride the Bike states that many local authorities are already rolling out measures to make it harder for vehicles to access dense urban areas because they are encouraged by transport secretary Grant Shapps’ £2 billion long-term package announced last week (9 May) to make cycling and walking a more prominent part of transport policy.
Support service providers with a business model that relies on using motorised transport for mobile response teams or mobile engineers will need to adapt fast; the attractive, cost-efficient, and environmentally sound option is to move as many journeys as achievable to e-cargo bikes, says the firm.
The City of London Corporation, which was already seeking to mitigate the impact of freight and servicing activity in the Square Mile, is now considering this in the context of supporting socially distant travel for over half a million employees.
The City of London’s 25-year transport strategy is to reduce the volume of motorised freight and servicing vehicles by 30 per cent by 2044 – with 90 per cent of this activity to take place outside peak hours.
As it estimates that half of vans are undertaking servicing activity, the corporation’s strategy commits it to developing a sustainable servicing plan to cut the number of motor vehicles used.
Dr David Land of Just Ride the Bike said: “Our standard research model develops a strong business case leading to a e-cargo bike pilot scheme that we manage, measuring performance and assessing productivity. But the call from the Department of Transport and plans of far sighted local authorities such as the City of London make that business case much more urgent. We want to work with service providers such as facilities managers, estates teams and building services organisations to set up a pilot scheme right now. This will show how they can easily adapt to deliver business continuity, whilst delivering sustainable logistics and service support.”