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Bookable loading bays trialled in Southwark

Grid Smarter Cities deploys Kerb Platform on Walworth Road

Mark Moran
06 February 2024
Double sided e-ink smart signs provide on-street users with visibility on the availability of the bays
Double sided e-ink smart signs provide on-street users with visibility on the availability of the bays


Businesses and retailers will be able to pre-book loading areas on a busy south London high street as part of the Walworth Road kerbside management project.

Loading bays across two areas on Walworth Road will be managed via the Kerb Platform to support the loading and unloading activity of local businesses and retailers.

The project, a partnership between Grid Smarter Cities and Southwark Council, manages existing bays in a structured manner and will provide the borough council with key parking data.

The scheme will run for an initial 18 month period with the possibility to implement the bookable bays permanently after that. There are currently no charges to use the bays.

Enforcement on bay usage will commence in late February 2024.

A key priority for Southwark is to give delivery drivers on Walworth Road better access to the existing allocated loading bays and deter unauthorised usage of the spaces for non-specific loading or unloading activity.

Another aim is to reduce congestion in the high street during peak periods and alleviate parking stress during deliveries to the local businesses and eateries. The bays can be used for 24 hours a day, enabling freight operators to deliver to local businesses with greater flexibility.

A HGV specific bay has also been deployed for larger freight vehicles on the north side of the street, helping to serve deliveries to the nearby supermarket.

Cllr James McAsh, cabinet member for the climate emergency, clean air and streets, said: “We're proud to introduce London’s first kerbside management scheme. The bookable loading bays on Walworth Road will tackle congestion and improve traffic management, a key tenet of our Streets for People strategy. This practical solution will help ensure smoother operations for delivery drivers and shoppers while supporting local businesses. This is an important step towards a greener borough.”

Key benefits of the scheme

  • Safer deliveries from less on street dwell time by delivery fleets, the improvement of pedestrian safety is key in this heavily populated street
  • An advanced booking system enables easier logistics for delivery drivers and fleet managers
  • Greener deliveries from less time circling looking for a suitable places to stop and unload

Southwark has previously partnered with Grid Smarter Cities at Bankside in the Southbank area, as part of Kerb Dock, a river cross docking project involving bookable loading bay spaces for delivery fleets adjacent to Bankside Pier. The council was keen to deploy bookable loading bays in a busy high street location.

Neil Herron, chief executive of Grid Smarter Cities, said: “Grid Smarter Cities is excited to be launching our latest bookable loading bays on a high street in Walworth Road, Southwark, a UK first. The Kerb app enables commercial 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, and represents a major digital leap forward for councils to optimise kerbside management and for operators to undertake deliveries in a more efficient manner leading to beneficial air quality, congestion reduction and improved local amenity.”

Walworth Road

Walworth Road is Elephant and Castle’s high street. One mile long, it runs from the Elephant and Castle junction in the north to Burgess Park in the south.
Walworth Road is a classic London high street made up of an eclectic mix of independent cafes, restaurants, pubs, small shops, supermarkets, big name stores, nail bars and local businesses.

It has a long standing trading history and today is a part of a bustling suburb, hosting many businesses and homes. The road is a busy thoroughfare for buses, residents and is situated between two parks. The users of the bays will be a mix between larger fleet users, some with HGVs and a larger proportion of smaller, local traders. 

The Kerb Platform

The Kerb Platform will enable delivery space to be booked in advance, which reduces the hassle of searching for suitable places to stop and unload for drivers on Walworth Road. There are safety benefits for pedestrians in this populated area, due to less vehicle dwell and road time. The community could also benefit from improved air quality due to fewer emissions from delivery fleets idling and circling in this low emissions neighbourhood.

Grids Kerb Delivery booking platform will manage five numbered loading bays across two parking areas on either side of the Walworth Road. Four double sided e-ink smart signs have been installed to support the bookings, providing on-street users with visibility on the availability of the bays.

Once registered and approved, a driver app for approved couriers can be downloaded to make and manage bookings. A web-based booking platform is available to support fleet operations staff to manage logistics movements. This can improve productivity by enabling more deliveries to be planned from a single location per day.
One of the key features of the scheme is that drivers can book delivery slots for longer periods than the standard 20 minutes. Bookings via the platform can be made in 15-minute increments, for example, 0-15, 15-30, 30-45, 45-60 minute slots, which supports easier, cleaner, greener freight operations. 

How the scheme works

Can the bays be used without a booking?
Bays cannot be used without a booking. Motorists can sign up to the scheme by emailing southwarkkerb@gridsmartercities.com 

Once signed up, reserving a loading bay is quick and easy and free of charge.

Could this be something expected across the whole borough?
This is a pilot. If the pilot is successful the scheme may be made available elsewhere in the Borough to manage traffic and loading effectively.

Is there a system where if someone does not use their booking, it is cancelled to allow for other drivers to use it?
Anyone who has access to a specific booking can cancel the booking at any time.  Once cancelled the slot immediately becomes available for others to use.

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