The rapid growth in the number of vans and light goods vehicles (LGVs) in London has played a major role in increased congestion and public concern about pollution, according to research.
In a report the Independent Transport Commission (ITC) said LGVs, which mostly run on diesel, have come under increasing public focus due to their emission levels.
Often noisier than private motor vehicles, LGVs can be a problem particularly at night when noise disturbance can interrupt sleep and contribute to health problems.
The need to find new methods of urban freight propulsion is now a high priority, said the report.
ITC identified a number of principles that policymakers should use when addressing urban freight policy challenges.
These include supporting innovative urban freight pilot initiatives.
“Such support, whether financial or regulatory, can accelerate the adoption of new solutions,” the report said.
It also identified challenges in measuring urban freight distribution, particularly outside London, due to a lack of data.
An examination of available research revealed problems with the way data is collected within the freight and logistics sector and with how economic measurements are conducted.
“It is clear that the industry as a whole could benefit from a common statistical framework for measurements,” said the report.
“As a result, the ITC has been exploring this issue closely with policymakers and statisticians at the Department for Transport.”
Statistics show that commercial vehicles contribute around 25% of transport emissions but make up just 5% of the national vehicle population.
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