Plexal’s working with TfL, the Mayor of London and nine partners to deliver London FreightLab

We’re excited to reveal that Transport for London (TfL) is teaming up with 10 partners – including Plexal – to launch London FreightLab. As one of three challenges in this year’s Mayor’s Civic Innovation Challenge, the programme is aimed at developing new ways for London to tackle some of the biggest issues caused by freight and servicing in the capital.

We want innovators with ideas that could make the way goods move around London safer, cleaner and more efficient to apply by 5 February. In return, the transport body is offering access to funding, land sites and subject matter expertise during the pilot stage for up to six ideas, which could be further developed and tested.

The partners are:

  • CEVA Logistics
  • DPD
  • Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
  • John Lewis Partnership
  • Plexal
  • REEF Technology
  • Royal Mail
  • Thames Water
  • UPS

Commenting on the programme, Michael Hurwitz, TfL’s director of transport innovation, called on innovators from all backgrounds to apply: “We want to work with the best market innovators from start-ups to corporates to help solve some of the key challenges that London faces.”

Meanwhile, Plexal’s managing director Andrew Roughan said: “We’re delighted to have been selected as one of the partners for this project, and are excited to build on our relationship with TfL. We all know that truly impactful innovation takes time and effort to achieve, which is why we pride ourselves on being a place where ideas can thrive, and innovative solutions can be scaled. Air quality and sustainability are some one of the most pressing issues that we are facing globally, and London can help lead the way in providing the solutions we need.

“Innovation is fuelled by collaboration between the public and private sector, and this challenge is a perfect example of what can be achieved through such a collaborative approach. At Plexal, we’re committed to finding the best possible mobility solutions for the future and developing technology that will make London a safer and healthier place to live.”

The impact of freight on London: sourcing new solutions

Freight is the lifeblood of London’s economy but the number of goods vehicles on our roads has increased by around 20% since 2010, and this can contribute to poor air quality and congestion. That’s why the Mayor’s Transport Strategy wants to reduce van and lorry use by 10% during morning peak hours by 2026.

TfL plans to work with boroughs, businesses and the freight and servicing industry to transform how deliveries are made in the capital, reduce the danger levels on our roads and clean up London’s toxic air.

London FreightLab builds on the transport body’s collaborative approach to developing new ways of addressing London’s mobility challenges. For example, it partnered with Plexal in 2019 to deliver London RoadLab: a programme that helped source solutions that could make roadworks safer, smarter and more inclusive. It also held the Connected Retail London competition in March 2019, where businesses were challenged to come up with ideas to reimagine physical retail space.