At Solutrans 2019 (Lyon, France) the International Van of the Year (IVOTY) jury launched a White Paper booklet entitled ‘The Evolution of the Light Commercial Vehicle in the Urban Environment’. The discussion document is a compilation of contributions from members of the IVOTY with thoughts from research relating to their own countries and Europe in general. Under ten headings each member looked to the present and future in relation to last mile logistics.
Clear messages are delivered throughout the 16-page document that aims to highlight logistical issues relating to the continuous population growth in towns and cities. It begins with the role of the delivery driver and the need to improve efficiencies and this objective can only be reached through more functional van design and an increased input from IT systems. “Such smart solutions will be cornerstones of future developments, and will be embedded in LCV Design,” stated the White Paper.
As City Authorities introduced tighter regulations to beat growing traffic congestion and reduce exhaust emissions, allied to customer demands from e-commerce, an increase in the delivery vehicle parc is imminent and this is where battery powered electric or hybrid vehicles are best suited.
Autonomous vehicles for this particular arena are being considered by the LCV manufacturers but as yet there are no pan-European regulations on the design and safe usage of same. Safety is a priority and a real challenge, according to the report, ‘to avoid danger and inefficiencies of unsafe working practices’.
Return on investment, societal acceptance and other possible challenges and solutions are also featured within the guideline chapters.
“Technical progress can be used simply to drive business, but it can also be harnessed to improve people’s lives and to shape our urban landscapes. The future of urban logistics depends on businesses, politicians and Local Authorities working together across the globe to steer innovations on the right course. Seeking a better, greener and truly sustainable society is a noble and urgent aim, but it will also enable smarter transport and delivery processes, and the evolution of a new breed of LCVs,” was another strong statement.
Commenting on the selective views and opinions from the jury members who contributed to the White Paper, Jarlath Sweeney, Chairman IVOTY said; “Full compliments to the jury members for coming up with the initiative and contributing strongly to the document. It sets a platform for open discussion where all stakeholders can get involved and hopefully their input will lead to the second edition in due course.”