Bookable loading bays for EVs in London 

Westminster City Council pioneers scheme in which drivers of electrically powered LGVs and HGVs can pre-book loading and unloading space in advance for up to 90 minutes. 

A new initiative in central London looks set to encourage greener, smarter deliveries. Among the benefits are reduced freight congestion and emissions in one of the country’s busiest urban areas, and improved road safety. 

EV loading bay in London, photo courtesy of Westminster City Council

EV loading bay in London, photo courtesy of Westminster City Council

Grid Smarter Cities has developed the Kerb platform and app in collaboration with Westminster City Council, and done so with the driver in mind. Using Kerb, drivers of electrically powered LGV and HGVs can pre-book parking bays in Abbey Orchard Street and Russell Street, near the bustling shopping and business districts of Victoria Street and Covent Garden. That means drivers can be sure of a parking space when making deliveries or collections, reducing time spent idling or searching – and the related stress.

Slots can be booked for 30, 60 or 90-minute durations, 24 hours a day. Pre-booking slots should also cut down on local congestion. As well as the driver-friendly app and online interface, the loading bays themselves feature on-street e-ink signage to make clear who booked a given slot. This e-ink system uses the same kind of display tech found in e-readers such as a Kindle.  

If a driver finds a rogue vehicle using a pre-booked bay, the app includes a feature to report them. 

The scheme is initially set to run for 18 months. It’s all part of a wider ambition to support and encourage green transport modes and green last-mile deliveries, and supports the goal’s strategic actions set out in the Freight, Servicing and Deliveries Strategy and Action Plan 2020–2040. Booking slots in advance should also help to reduce congestion on these busy streets.

Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg, Cabinet Member for City Management and Air Quality at Westminster City Council, says: ‘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.’  

Neil Herron, CEO of Grid Smarter Cities, adds: ‘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 LGV 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.’ 

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