O2D PRESS RELEASE
During many years spent in the construction industry in London I was fortunate to work alongside some of the most iconic projects of recent decades; from the Shard, to the Olympics . During this time, I supported major construction groups in their drive to build more sustainably, reduce environmental impacts of their developments, and – with the early advent of FORS and CLOCS – lessen KSI’s caused by HGVs. The latter became ever more poignant in recent years, working alongside Kate Cairns’ ‘See Me Save Me’ campaign to reduce deaths under the wheels of HGVs.
Although many advances were being made, the one area that was glaringly inefficient was the control of the gates at major construction sites. Delivery management systems were improving the congestion at the gates, but there was still lots of disruption and as a result thousands of HGVs were turned away weekly. Due to conditions in London the diverted HGVs had no choice but to circle until the delivery was cancelled or a new slot opened. This was noted in Aecom’s 2017 Report Investigating the Impacts Caused by Inefficient Deliveries, which pointed out that when vehicles are turned away they travel, on average, 10 miles before the issue is rectified. Naturally this is counter to our goals for cleaner air, safer streets and avoiding delays in the construction process. Often the decision to turn a vehicle away is made by the team on the gate, unbeknown to the senior team, who may only find out too late that the steel needed to complete their phase of the project has been sent back to Sheffield.
Our journey in developing a technological solution – Origin to Destination – started against this backdrop. As with all things, luck played its part. That spring I met Eamonn McGurk of Keyway Group. We shared the same ideas and views. With Keyway being in construction and waste management since the early 60’s, Eamonn had a far more informed view of the situation due to practical experience. The next piece of luck was meeting Dan Pinnell, Director of Prospect Training Services. Dan is a technical whizz and had already developed innovative technology for the Welsh FA as well as state-wide learning programmes in America. We attacked the problem together, and the concept of O2D was born.
We established that there were two key solutions to better control the busy gates: the first being consolidation centres where goods could be stored and sent to the project in mixed loads, the second was diverting HGVs to holding areas. The former was an excellent solution but satisfying the Mayor’s requirements meant they would have to be within around a half hour drive of the project (issues then arise in sourcing that kind of large space so close to central London), also… who would foot the bill? The latter, the use of holding areas, would need collaboration between Local Authorities and TfL, who share the highways.
We concluded that we needed to develop an app that would:
Give full visibility of deliveries, from supplier to end user, in real time
Allow vehicles to be safely diverted to a measured holding bay whenever they couldn’t be accommodated at the gate
As we approached completion of the platform we met Alex Pocklington, Principal Network Impact Assessment Engineer of Croydon, at a logistics forum. It became clear that our thinking aligned as he was also looking for a technological solution to work alongside the Construction Logistics Plans (CLPs) to make efficient use of holding areas as part of the strategy for the Croydon Growth Zone. We joined forces and launched O2D version 1.1 in collaboration with LBC in the spring of 2019.
So, what is O2D?
O2D is a real-time delivery management system with a unique Driver Contact app for rerouting, diverting and cancelling deliveries.
As Alex Pocklington, Principal Network Impact Assessment Engineer, Croydon explains: “Across London hundreds, possibly even thousands, of trucks are turned away each day at their ramps or gates due to missed time slots and are circling the city leading to wasted miles, increased collisions, congestion and emissions. With this app we aim to drastically reduce this issue, reducing pollution, congestion, serious injuries and deaths whilst supporting Croydon’s construction logistics, clean air and environmental impact initiatives. We hope this project will eventually benefit the whole of London and beyond.”
O2D increases supply-chain communication; process transparency; efficiency of deliveries; facilitates the free movement of vehicles and keeps construction timescales on track.
The handy app reduces the rate of stoppages and build-up of vehicles on site, and the number of repeat journeys and delays. It does this by diverting the vehicles before they reach the site and holding them in holding bays, to be called in once the site is ready – preventing them from circling the city. We call it ‘air traffic control’ for freight.
Taking the lead from the aforementioned Aecom report, attending London logistics forums , and our own research with major London construction sites, our collective findings showed that approximately 20% of all HGV vehicles delivering to London construction sites are turned away due to onsite delays, missed time slots, or bottle necks.
One major construction site in London receives 27,000 deliveries annually, of which 5,400 (20%) are turned away. We now know they travel an average of 10 miles, that’s a total of 54,000 miles extra – or twice around the world! All that from 1 London construction site.
Those 54,000 extra miles produce 64,000 kg of CO₂ and other harmful gases. This developer alone has 12 live sites in London, that’s 648,000 extra miles, equating to 771,000 kg of CO₂ and other harmful gases being pumped into our atmosphere from inefficient deliveries. Sobering figures for a city that is desperately trying to reduce Its current high pollution levels.
The aim of our initiative is to;
reduce the number of inefficient deliveries across London, therefore reducing the number of collisions and injuries to pedestrians and cyclists by construction vehicles
reduce CO₂, NO₂ and other harmful emissions
reduce congestion and road wear and tear
Whilst also improving driver behaviour through education, O2D is unique as it ties the supply chain and local authorities together. It doesn’t require the driver or company to buy expensive equipment or install devices – just the installation of a free app on their smart device which links up the delivery, their GPS location and rerouting systems. This provides full visibility of any delivery within the system for suppliers, site managers and local authorities, together with other key stakeholders.
The O2D app supports not only road safety and environmental targets but also reduces the number of HGV vehicle movements, whilst supporting wider agendas. Research shows that during the planning stages, construction sites must demonstrate how they can mitigate the impact of the build on the local community (section 106). O2D sits here as a planned measure on the construction logistics plan. Not only can it divert deliveries based on site time zones (e.g. avoid deliveries during peak pedestrian times), but it can also detail the vehicle type and load so that local authorities can monitor the number of vehicles the developer plans to use against the actual number, and confirm FORS status. This enables councils to place new measures on the developers if they are found to be in breach of their CLP. It can also identify incidents of construction vehicles being driven down residential roads that were not agreed within the plan, supporting local communities and the wellbeing of local residents.
To increase local employment opportunities the app has a ‘solo driver’ feature, meaning small delivery firms or self-employed drivers can access the same features as large organisations, free of charge. This supports ‘local jobs for local people’ initiatives and the data is tracked through our management system. Businesses can reduce environmental impact and carbon footprint by using O2D and because every delivery has a driver profile, vehicle type and number plate attached to it, security levels are also increased. If the vehicle or photo ID does not match the vehicle showing on the map, then alerts can be created. O2D is piloting a new approach for the logistics sector and the system has the ability to gather previously unattainable statistical information, which can inform authorities and bodies for future strategies.
This elegant and practical solution that will revolutionise construction logistics, reduce harmful emissions, and further safeguard vulnerable road users, benefitting London and beyond.