A Constructor’s Collaboration: Freight Delivery by Cargo Bike

The Mayor of London’s Transport Strategy, published in 2018, sets out a vision for a healthier, greener and more prosperous city. The strategy makes clear that a new type of thinking is required to increase active, efficient and sustainable travel to help achieve this vision for London.

The Mayor, through TfL, will work with the boroughs, businesses and the freight and servicing industry to reduce the adverse impacts of freight and service vehicles on the street network. The Mayor aims to reduce the number of lorries and vans entering central London in the morning peak by 10 per cent by 2026 (major project route constraints and compliance checks via a strategic holding area required for freight deliveries included).

Cycling is a fundamental element towards attaining a healthier lifestyle and has the added bonus of being almost emission free. Many companies within London are now utilising the benefits from cycling within their business and some are having their goods delivered by cargo bike. This opens up a big opportunity for the construction industry to get involved.

After undertaking a ‘Constructors Cycle Experience’, a discussion took place with McCoy Engineering to explore the benefits of cycling and to see if they would be willing to trial a cargo bike to deliver their plant instead of a van. This was followed by a conversation with their client, the Crossrail joint venture BBMV (Balfour Beatty, Morgan Sindall and Vinci) who quickly grabbed the chance to try out this sustainable method.

PedalMe cargo bikes were instructed to collect the load from Wood Green, North London and to deliver to the Crossrail site at Whitechapel.

Cargo bikes, some of which have electric assist, have the capability to pull a trailer which in this case, was the method used for the McCoy delivery. The trial was deemed a success and all involved were very pleased with the outcome. This has led to further discussions on how sustainable transport can be incorporated into the construction supply chain.

Below are cost benefit calculations based on item delivery and return trips:

Total distance for van (restricted route and holding) = 33.6 km
Total distance by cargo bike = 21 km
CO2 (diesel 25mpg) for van = 10 kg CO2/km
Approx. total time by van (incl. compliance check) = 76 mins
Approx. total time by cargo bike = 39 mins
Cargo bike rider benefits (calories) = 310 kcal

Additional benefits of using cargo bikes include the ability to utilise cycle lanes and avoid associated congested areas thus reducing the cumulative impacts on the environment. Cargo bikes do not have to succumb to set construction routes within urban areas.

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Entry submitted by TfL.

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