The publication of a new report on congestion in London has laid the blame in part on personal deliveries by retailers to offices. The report, London Stalling: Reducing traffic congestion in London, has been put together by the Transport Committee of the London Assembly.
The report says that tackling the growth of commercial traffic in London needs to be priority and suggests the potential to introduce further consolidation centres to the capital in order to help it better cope.
According to the report delivery vans drove 3.8 billion kms on London’s roads in 2012 but by 2015 this had risen by 11% to 4.2 billion km. It suggests that TfL: “could also address the increasing number of delivery vans making internet shopping deliveries, which is contributing to congestion, by taking steps to ensure people collect packages in more sustainable ways.”
The report says there is potential to increase the use of bicycles in freight, particularly in the last mile of the delivery chain.
But the report goes one step further too, by recommending for TfL to start by piloting a ban on personal deliveries which it says should then be rolled out to all GLA Group premises and promoted to other large employers in London. Some companies based in Canary Wharf have already banned such deliveries due to the disruption it causes their businesses.
The report also recommends a rethink on the TfL approach to click and collect at tube and rail stations, suggesting that stations should be identified for a pilot programme in which multiple retailers and/or freight operators could deliver packages to a station for collection rather than limiting click and collect opportunities to only one retailer at a station which narrows the opportunities for passengers to take advantage of the service.
However, Patrick Gallagher, chief executive at On the dot, said it was unfair to penalise consumers for the failings of retailers. “Consumers are getting parcels delivered to their offices because not enough retailers are offering feasible alternatives. If we want to reduce the pressure on inner city deliveries – in addition to improving the customer experience – we should be giving shoppers the option to select fixed hour delivery time slots that fit with when they’re at home,” he said.
“Flexible scheduling and smart algorithms also have a huge role to play in reducing congestion from fulfilment. We continually invest in technology that will lessen our impact on the environment whilst simultaneously prioritising customer convenience and would like to see the industry as a whole take its responsibility in this area more seriously,” he said.
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