Councillor hails new bookable EV loading bays to “keep the city moving and reduce congestion”

The councillor in charge of transport and air quality in Westminster says a new online booking system for electric delivery vans to remotely reserve places to unload will “help businesses do their day-to-day job of delivering to our businesses, our shops, restaurants and cafes.”

Image of  Neil Herron, CEO and Founder of Grid Smarter Cities and Councillor Dimoldenberg at the Russell Street bay location

Paul Dimoldenberg, who is Westminster Council’s Cabinet Member for City Management and Air Quality, attended the launch of an 18-month project with software solutions company Grid Smarter Cities involving two loading bays near Covent Garden and Victoria Street last week. The scheme allows drivers of electric vans can to pre-book a loading and unloading space for up to 90 minutes, 24 hours a day. This means that delivery drivers get surety of a space in advance, reducing idling and search time and also allowing them to park long enough to make onward deliveries by greener modes, such as by foot or cargo bike.

“There’s huge competition for kerbside space,” he said. “We recognise more than 40 different users of the kerb, and it’s impossible to keep up unless we are on top of it 24 hours, seven days a week. So what we’re trying to do is try new ways of managing the kerb, so that we can keep on top of it, we can keep the city moving, we can reduce congestion.”

Image using the Kerb app to reserve the Russell Street bay

The Kerb suite comes with a driver friendly app, online interface and is accompanied by an on-street e-ink sign. Drivers can report rogue vehicles if the space is being used without a booking on arrival.

“There’s no driving around looking for a space in a busy central London location, like Covent Garden or Victoria, where we’ve got the first two trials,” Cllr Dimoldenberg continued. “This gives the distribution companies the ability to pre plan where are they going to park, so they’ve got a defined time to deliver the goods. And they can do it quickly, efficiently and without any fuss or delays.”

The two spaces are located in Abbey Orchard Street and Russell Street and the success of the trial will be monitored to provide a case to expand across the City of Westminster. “We’re not going to change the world with two bays,” the councillor explained. “But if it works over the next 18 months, then it gives us the go ahead to unveil more of these bays, right across Westminster so that we have a network of bays so that businesses can have a choice of where they book a spot at a time that suits them.”

Drivers who wish to use these initial bays must be pre-registered and the vehicle must be fully electric. EV delivery fleet operators or drivers who deliver within the areas of Russell Street and Abbey Orchard Street in Westminster can register at [email protected] or can sign up here.

You can hear Councillor Dimoldenberg’s thoughts in full on this week’s Highways Voices podcast recorded at the launch near Covent Garden, which will be uploaded on Wednesday 6 March.

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.