The North-East based technology house and smart solution provider Grid Smarter Cities has won an Innovate UK contract, looking to create an innovative Freight Traffic Control Platform to help manage construction freight movements and deliveries in congested urban centres.
Partnering with Croydon Council and EB Charging (an electric vehicle infrastructure business) – the Innovate UK funded project award, worth in excess of £485,000, will see Grid working with the partner organisations to develop and pilot an ‘alpha’ product in a live construction development in Croydon borough from March 2020. Grid is working in parallel with a number of specialist partners to investigate the potential of vehicle telematics, 3D mapping and Electric Vehicles on the future of construction logistic operations.
The foundations of the solution are found in Grid’s award winning Intelligent Kerbside Management solution, ‘Kerb’, a patented system to manage our city kerb space, reducing congestion, increasing efficiency and improving air quality. Kerb has previously been granted Innovate UK funding to build the Kerb prototype, trailing the solution across the UK and internationally through 2018 and 2019.
Kerb enables the digitisation of the kerbside, allowing drivers to park on restricted kerb for fixed periods of time and providing real-time, dynamic management of the road network. The Kerb solution has now won numerous awards including the ITS UK Innovation Award 2018 and the British Parking Award for Intelligent Parking 2019.
The FTC solution looks to build on the foundations of Kerb, improving ease of movement commercial operators when heading into and around the construction site, whilst reducing congestion and the environmental impact of HGVs.
This comes at a time of increased awareness around air quality, the effects of harmful pollutants and increasing congestion. Diesel emissions, largely attributed to freight vehicles account for 85% of NOx emissions in urban ambient airspace, with air quality now being recognised as the cause of more than 40,000 deaths in the UK per annum.
Neil Herron, CEO and Founder of Grid Smarter Cities stated, “The Kerb FTC Project represents a great opportunity to showcase how practical innovation can deliver real impacts and we are excited to be working with the Croydon Council who are a trailblazing local authority intent on leading the way. Improving air quality is a key issue for society to address, and we are intent on being able to deliver technology that offers simple, easy to adopt process improvements to assist in construction freight logistics and the wider transport sectors.”
Councillor Stuart King, cabinet lead for environment and transport at Croydon Council, said, “This is an innovative project that will help us to monitor, manage and regulate HGV journeys across Croydon. This will help us try and make sure deliveries arrive not only in a timely manner but even more importantly that the journeys are as safe and green as possible.” Karla Jakeman, Innovation Lead for Connected Transport & Communications at Innovate UK explained, “This project is a great example of how an SME can work with Local Authorities to solve real life issues around freight. This can provide a blueprint which can transferred to other local authorities around the UK. The potential spin offs from this project due its boarder thinking are particularly exciting.”