The Rural Innovation for Sustainable Environments (RISE) for Decarbonising Last Mile Road Freight project looks at measures to decarbonise road freight, using integrated agent-based and emissions modelling to assess the impact of electrification, consolidation and mode shift on emissions generated from last mile deliveries in rural areas.
The Department for Transport has set a target for vans to be zero emissions at the tailpipe by 2035, but a barrier to developing effective policy interventions has been the lack of relevant data on emissions generated through last mile deliveries in rural areas. There was also a lack of evidence of how electrification, consolidation and mode shift could positively impact businesses to make the case for introducing these practices into commercial operations. Under these constraints, assessing the real world impact of last mile deliveries across all operators, the relationship between urban and rural freight and their contribution to carbon emissions is difficult to quantify.
The Rural Innovation for Sustainable Environments (RISE) for Decarbonising Last Mile Road Freight project, funded by the Go Science Fund at Department for Transport, developed a multimodal transport model of the North East of England, modelling the movements of people and goods, to highlight bottle necks and hot-spots with higher carbon emissions to support cities and towns in meeting their own transport decarbonisation targets.
Since current decarbonisation strategies are mainly technology driven, the RISE model tested whether forecasted adoption trends for electrification of the commercial fleets would be able to meet the medium term target in 2035 or if further interventions are required to reach the Net Zero target by 2050. Scenarios for years 2021 (Baseline), 2031 and 2035 explored:
- Electrification of vehicles fleet deployed for last mile deliveries;
- Consolidation Centres to further breakdown last mile deliveries and introduce new modes;
- Mode shift to light modes for last mile deliveries covering short distances.
Results from the electrifications scenario suggests that if 40% of commercial fleets switch to e-vans by 2035, only 50% reduction (against 2021 levels) in emissions from last mile deliveries is achieved. However when combined with the introduction of consolidations centres, which enables a shift to new, zero emission transport modes, the model shows a 96% reduction in carbon emissions from last mile deliveries in 2035 when compared to the 2021 baseline.
This means that Net Zero target will be reached before the 2035 medium term target, if alongside a shift towards electrification a strategic network of consolidation centres is developed to support current level of demand in last mile deliveries (and potential future increase in demand).
Consolidation centres will provide last mile delivery operators access to a dedicated charging network for commercial fleets, the possibility to consolidate demand into smaller deliveries, allowing the shift from larger operators to smaller ones. This will provide the initial support to kickstart behavioural change in the last mile delivery sector.
This seminar is aimed at all stakeholders interested in last mile delivery solutions, the connection between urban and rural areas and how data-driven modelling can support transport policy interventions. The expected audience will span local authorities, transport authorities, data providers, transport modellers, academics, logistic operators and new mobility services operators.