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Bookable EV loading bay scheme launched in Westminster

29 February 2024
Image of the Abbey Orchard Street bookable bay with e-ink signage, which is walking distance to Victoria Street
The Russell Street bookable bay in Covent Garden features e-ink signage
The Russell Street bookable bay in Covent Garden features e-ink signage

 

Two new bookable bays are to be launched in launched in central London. The service will enable freight EV’s to pre-book loading and unloading space in advance for up to 90 minutes.

The bays are on Abbey Orchard Street and Russell Street near the bustling shopping and business districts of Victoria Street and Covent Garden.

The project is a collaboration between Grid Smarter Cities, which is providing the Kerb booking platform, including driver app, and Westminster City Council.

The bays are bookable 24 hours per day and the scheme is set to run for an initial 18-month period.

The key aims for Westminster City Council are to improve the access and dwell times of freight operators in the area and reduce congestion. The booking platform enables a more streamlined approach to freight deliveries by providing surety of space in advance for delivery drivers.

A pre-booked slot leads to reductions in idling and search time from freight vehicles and a more efficient delivery process. The ability to book longer delivery slots ranging from 30, 60, 90 minutes will also encourage more onward deliveries by greener modes, such as by foot or cargo bike.

Westminster City Council is keen to see increasing numbers of greener last mile deliveries within the borough and continue to commit to increasing its greener transport infrastructure and supporting electric freight deliveries.

The scheme supports Westminster’s Freight, Servicing and Deliveries Strategy and Action Plan 2020–2040, which includes proactive kerbside management as one of its strategic actions, including: more effective use of on-street loading; and unloading bays throughout the 24-hour period to reduce commercial vehicle movements.

Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg, cabinet member for city Management and air quality, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Grid Smarter Cities to deliver two new dedicated parking bays for freight EVs in Westminster – London’s first bookable EV loading bays.  Westminster City Council recognises the importance of tackling air pollution and reducing carbon emissions to reach our goal of a net zero city by 2040.  

“By providing infrastructure tailored to the needs of electric delivery vehicles, we are supporting businesses in transitioning to cleaner transportation methods while improving air quality and enhancing the overall quality of life for residents.”

Grid has designed the interface with the driver in mind. The technology will enable delivery drivers to book loading bay slots for longer periods of time of up to 90 minutes. Drivers can also report rogue vehicles if the space is being used without a booking on arrival.

The dynamic kerbside technology enables delivery fleets to book loading space before they arrive for an amount of time that fits the specific delivery type. The hassle of searching for a suitable place to unload is removed from the delivery cycle and driver stress is reduced.

Neil Herron, chief executive from Grid Smarter Cities, said: “Grid Smarter Cities is excited to be launching our first bookable EV only loading bays in the heart of London with Westminster City Council. The Kerb app enables commercial EV drivers to book their slots in signed ‘permit’ loading bays which help better manage freight, servicing and delivery activities at the kerbside.

“This is an exciting change from the first come first served approach to kerbside access. The deployment represents a major digital leap forward for councils to optimise kerbside management and for operators to undertake deliveries in a more efficient manner and aligns with Westminster’s Carbon Reduction Strategy and Air Quality Action Plan helping prioritise carbon reduction through reduced traffic and congestion.”

Westminster Council is funding the project with Grid Smarter Cities providing the booking platform, two on-street e-ink signs, driver app and powering technology. Both bays will be experimental traffic orders.

The bays are chargeable and an account and payment via the Kerb Platform is necessary. The bays are charged at local parking rates.

Drivers who wish to use the bays must be pre-registered and the vehicle must be fully electric. The bays can be used for 24 hours a day enabling freight operators to deliver to clients with greater flexibility.

The bays are enforceable by Westminster City Council’s parking regulations team.

Bespoke parking bay sizing meets the requirements of larger freight vehicles, but is priced at the same parking rates within the area.

Westminster’s climate action plan can be found here

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