London’s First EV Bookable Loading Bay Scheme in Westminster

Greener, smarter deliveries for EV fleets in the Westminster borough

Two new bookable bays are launching in Abbey Orchard Street and Russell Street near the bustling shopping and business districts of Victoria Street and Covent Garden. This is a first for London and will enable freight EV’s to pre-book loading and unloading space in advance for up to 90 minutes. 

The project is a collaboration between Grid Smarter Cities, who are providing the Kerb booking platform, including driver app, and Westminster City Council. This innovative scheme has many potential positive impacts from reduced freight congestion and emissions to improved road safety. The bays are bookable 24 hours per day and the scheme is set to run for an initial 18-month period.

Image of the Abbey Orchard Street bookable bay with e-ink signage, which is walking distance to Victoria Street

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. 

Encouraging greener last mile deliveries is a key objective for the project

Westminster City Council and are keen to see increasing numbers of greener last mile deliveries within the Borough and continue to commit to increasing their greener transport infrastructure and supporting electric freight deliveries. The scheme supports their Freight, Servicing and Deliveries Strategy and Action Plan 2020–2040, which includes proactive kerbside management as one of its 9 strategic actions. Including; more effective use of on-street loading and unloading bays throughout the 24-hour period to reduce commercial vehicle movements.

The Kerb suite comes with a driver friendly app, online interface and is accompanied by an on-street e-ink sign

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.

There are benefits for both the fleet operators and the borough

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.

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.”

Neil Herron, CEO 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.”

Image of the Russell Street bookable bay in Covent Garden, with e-ink signage

Drivers who wish to use the bays must be pre-registered and the vehicle must be fully electric

If you are an EV LGV or EV HGV delivery fleet operator or driver and deliver within the areas of Russell Street (in Covent Garden) and Abbey Orchard Street (near to Victoria Street) in Westminster, please reach out to us to register to start using the bays at [email protected] or visit here. Please note that only pre-registered operators may use the driver app to make bookings for the bays.

Notes to Editor: 

  • A link the Westminster’s climate action plan can be found here
  • Westminster Council are 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.
  • The bays are enforceable by Westminster City Councils parking regulations team.
  • Bespoke parking bay sizing that meets the requirements of larger freight vehicles but priced at the same parking rates within the area.
  • The bays can be used for 24hrs a day enabling freight operators to deliver to clients with greater flexibility. 
  • Electric vehicles are not using up their battery by delivering to multiple locations and can conserve their battery by being able to dwell for longer.
  • Longer loading times slots of 30 mins, 60 mins, 90 mins enable uninterrupted deliveries.

Bay locations:

    • Abbey Orchard Street bay location is near Victoria, close to Government buildings, Westminster city offices, many restaurants and a new development on the other side of the street where the bay is located.
    • Russell Street bay location is made up of an area of theatres, restaurants with Covent garden and soho within walking distances.


Why have the bays been deployed?

The bays have been deployed in areas that are typically challenging for freight drivers to load and unload goods. The aim of the scheme is to help delivery drivers gain better access that is more streamlined, reducing the stress of searching for suitable space to carry out deliveries. The advanced booking system provides drivers with more delivery certainty by guaranteeing space before a journey commences. The longer booking slots and pre-booked space will encourage more efficient deliveries and support onward fulfilment by greener modes such as walking or cargo bikes. The creation of EV only bays also support a wider deployment of electric fleets within the borough.


Who can use the bays? How do operators sign up?

Vehicles must be fully electric and pre-registered with an account and driver app to book to use the bays. Both LGV EV and HGV EV vehicles can use each bay. A pre-registration and on-boarding process is in place to support drivers on the set-up of a Kerb account. Once registered, the driver or fleet can then download the driver specific app and start to book the bays for their desired time, duration and date.

About Grid Smarter Cities:

Grid Smarter Cities is a software solutions company with sector specific expertise in kerbside management and last mile logistics. Grid has developed Kerb, a kerbside management platform to deliver a ‘win-win’ scenario for cities and commercial operators, helping to address key logistical challenges and global environmental issues at both the macro and micro level.

At Grid Smarter Cities we care about the future. We help resolve key logistical challenges and global environmental issues with smart but simple technological solutions. Often overlooked and undervalued, the Kerb emerges as a powerful asset with which to deliver positive environmental, social and economic outcomes for Kerb Owners and Kerb Users alike.

The Kerb Delivery Platform:

Kerb Delivery, is a platform that improves city mobility by enabling kerb space to be booked in advance digitally by freight drivers. 

The Kerb Delivery technology provides the local authority with flex to dynamically allocate loading bays in congested areas. The suite comes with an intuitive driver app, savvy booking platform and tailored interface for both fleet managers and local authorities.