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Pedal power

2 June, 2023

Transport for London (TfL) has launched the Cargo Bike Action Plan in an effort to transform how deliveries are made in the capital. The plan aims to promote cargo bike use and address barriers that may prevent a shift from using vans to using cargo bikes for ‘last mile’ deliveries.

Cargo bikes are specially designed cycles that can carry all types of loads. They’re typically electricity-assisted and offer a clean and efficient alternative to vans by reducing congestion and air pollution – particularly given the continued rise in e-commerce and home deliveries. So, there’s no surprise TfL is turning to cargo-bikes to displace ‘van kilometres’ in the city.

The action plan includes detailed modelling, forecasting that a shift to cargo bikes could potentially reduce van kilometres by as much as 17% by 2030. However, overcoming the barriers to this shift will require a concerted effort from different stakeholders.

Whilst cargo bikes are affordable, clean and efficient alternative to vans, road infrastructure needs to accommodate them, and parking, charging infrastructure and safe storage areas need to be created. The Cargo Bike Action Plan recognises the need for ‘micromobility hubs’ which could eventually enable more people to use them and allow delivery services to organise and distribute their freight.

The switch to cargo bikes relies on strong policies, schemes and behaviour change that encourages their uptake, and logistics systems in London need to be rethought if ‘last mile’ deliveries are to be greened.

There are several pedal-powered champions already revolutionising last-mile deliveries, cutting emissions and making a positive impact. Read our next story as we celebrate the businesses leading the way in embracing cargo bikes and creating a sustainable delivery ecosystem for a cleaner and brighter London

By Bertie Bateman

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