Research into green freight transport and logistics has been instrumental in introducing novel techniques and methods that address gaps in data availability and analysis that were hindering improvements in freight transport efficiency and sustainability.

Long train on rails


Work in urban freight transport has established monitoring techniques, performance measures and benchmarking for urban freight operations. It has also had a major impact on the direction of Transport for London’s (TfL) freight knowledge and insight, which has fed through into its strategy and policy-making.

The research and advice provided to TfL has made a key contribution to the development of a range of policy measures to achieve greater freight sustainability (economic and environmental) in London eg the Low Emission Zone (LEZ), Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS), Delivery and Servicing Plans (DSPs), freight planning advice for businesses during the Olympics and the trial and evaluation of Consolidation Centres.

Rail and water freight has been one of the major areas of environmental policy-making in transport in Britain, and the research here has included actions to encourage greater ‘rail/water friendliness’. This has led to a better understanding of rail (and water) freight activity and trends. The research has involved the development of new video-based data collection methods to monitor various types of rail freight flows and the results have identified greater scope for modal shift without the need for major capital funding. This has informed the discussion about appropriate policy measures.

The knowledge developed in the area of freight transport energy consumption and carbon emissions has led to the University being invited to join the Department for Transport’s Low Carbon Supply Chain Steering Group. In conjunction with Defra and the freight industry, the researchers helped develop a spreadsheet-based toolkit for goods vehicle operators to utilise in assessing transport fuel use and carbon emissions together with an accompanying guidance report.

The University was also invited to become a member of the European Norm Committee, CEN TC320/WG10, which established a standard on greenhouse gas emission calculation methods for transport in Europe, in co-operation with the British Standards Institute.


The freight and logistics research undertaken by University of Westminster is helping to shape the future of rail freight, and encourage modal choice in the UK. It is recognised for its high quality and policy relevance, and for the value it adds.

Maggie Simpson, Executive Director, Rail Freight Group

Supported by: TfL, EPSRC, BESTUFS