Revolutionary changes in the way goods carrying vehicles are used are necessary to achieve a meaningful reduction in carbon emissions from the UK's road transport fleet, according to a new report.
The study was commissioned by the Centre for Sustainable Road Freight (CfSRF), a consortium of Cambridge and Heriot-Watt Universities and organizations in the freight, logistics and vehicle engineering sectors.
The findings, which exclude the benefits of technological enhancements being developed by vehicle and engine makers, point to the enhanced use of out of town consolidation centres, rescheduled deliveries to allow a longer operation period for distribution and larger, heavier vehicles. A combination of these measures could reduce emissions from goods vehicles by around 25% by 2035 compared to today's levels.
"Meeting the 2050 GHG emissions reduction target at a manageable cost will require significant decarbonisation of the transport sector", says Dr Maja Piecyk, Deputy Director of CfSRF.
"Although all forms of domestic transport only account for 21% of total GHG emissions in the UK, road freight is the second largest source of transport emissions, accounting for 22% (24MtCO2e) of surface transport emissions in 2013.
This sector is notoriously difficult to decarbonise due to the limited scope for alternative power train options. So we need savings from logistics measures like reduced empty running, extended delivery times, use of urban consolidation centres and larger, heavier vehicles on long haul".