Displaying items by tag: transport


Leigh Gravenor


Leigh Gravenor, Senior Consultant


Leigh specialises in cargo bike operations and travel behaviour change. He has worked as a cycle trainer across London and as a Sustainable Transport Officer with the London Borough of Kingston Upon Thames. For the past three years he has been part of the Senior Leadership Team at a London based cargo bike logistics firm, helping it grow from 13 staff to over 50.

Given Leigh's recent experience and knowledge of cargo bike logistics he will primarily be leading on the Bikes for Business Project and all things cargo bike. If Leigh isn't in the office he's probably out cycling or building another bike.

Published in MP Smarter Travel team


We are pleased to announce that MP Smarter Travel are partnering with London Borough of Waltham Forest to gather consultation responses within their South Leytonstone low traffic neighbourhood (LTN).


What are low traffic neighbourhoods?

Low traffic neighbourhoods are places where motor vehicle traffic is restricted within residential areas, making the streets to help make it safer for residents to travel by foot or bicycle, and more environmentally friendly. Roads are normally blocked off to motor vehicles using planters, ANPR cameras or bollards to restrict traffic.

Alternative driving routes are set up throughout the LTNs so that people can still access the area, and residents who live within the LTN can easily access their property by motor vehicle.


Benefits of a low traffic neighbourhood

Low traffic neighbourhoods are an excellent way of making streets safer, with reports stating they can reduce road injuries by up to 50 per cent, and improve overall quality of life with cleaner air, quieter streets and relationships being built between neighbours.

In regards to the economy, the impact of LTNs is significant. According to research conducted by Living Streets, results have shown that people who walk to the high street can spend up to 40 per cent more than those who drive there, giving the local economy a direct boost.


Did you know?

  • Over 70 LTNs were implemented in London between March and Sept 2020 which an estimated 3.7 per cent of Londoners now living inside a new LTN.
  • Hackney has more LTNs than any other London Borough.
  • In London 36 per cent of car trips are under 2 kilometres (1.25 miles), a distance that can be walked in around 20 minutes.

As part of our work with London Borough of Waltham Forest, we’ll be speaking with schools, local residents, businesses and community groups, including places of worship, to get their input on LTNs and why, or why they wouldn’t, want them introduced.

Gathering direct input from the community is vital to ensure that any work that is implemented, meets the needs of the borough’s constituents and can be utilised and accessed by as wide a range of people as possible.

Low traffic neighbourhoods offer a great opportunity to help lower pollution, create more enjoyable places to live and work and create safer streets. If you would like to start the journey to implementing a low traffic neighbourhood in your borough, contact us at info@mpsmartertravel.co.uk or call 0207 960 2553.


Published in Blog

The Energy Saving Trust and the Department for Transport have launched a £400,000 eCargo Bike Grant Fund for 2021/22.

What is the fund?

Delivered by Energy Saving Trust, the new eCargo bike fund from the Department for Transport is designed to help companies up and down the UK make delivering goods and services more environmentally friendly. The £400,000 fund will provide businesses with up to 40 per cent of the capital towards a new eCargo bike, up to the value of £2,500 for a two-wheel model, and up to £4,500 for three wheel-models.

Organisations of any size can apply as long as they meet the eligibility criteria, and funding will be capped to five eCargo bikes per company. Larger applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Deliveries have proved to be up to 25-50% quicker and more efficient by eCargo bikes than by car or van.

How to apply

Since 2012, MP Smarter Travel has worked with local councils across the south-east of England to implement and manage eCargo bike schemes for making deliveries and collecting recycling waste. We have assisted local councils with funding applications, surveys, business engagement, and end-to-end project management to help promote and encourage more sustainable transport. From electricians to flower deliveries, and from homeware to distilleries, we’ve helped a wide variety of businesses take part in trials, work with couriers and acquire their own eCargo bikes with many making the switch permanently.

With a large network of cargo bike couriers and retailers, we’re able to provide councils and local businesses to get all the information and advice they need to find the right eCargo bike for them. Read more about our work implementing and managing eCargo bike projects in our latest case studies with Team London Bridge, Brighton & Hove City Council and Brent Council.

There hasn't been a better time for councils to help businesses be greener, improve air quality for their community and reduce traffic, creating healthier and more enjoyable places to live and work.

Applications for the fund are only open for a short time and will be closing on 14 December 2021.

Contact Principal Consultant, Oli Ivens at oli.ivens@mpsmartertravel.co.uk or on 0207 960 2553 to see how we can help with your application and sustainable transport project.

Published in Blog

Known for its vibrant culture, and for being eco-conscious, Brighton is an exciting city. With a thriving independent business community and a base for a considerable number of larger companies, Brighton is home to 16,000 businesses covering a range of industries. Overall population has grown by around 13 per cent over the past decade and attracts almost 10 million tourists a year**.

With such a rapidly increasing population and as the city continues to become a hub for business, the need to manage the environmental impact from transport is becoming more apparent. Ready to tackle transport emissions and create a cleaner and healthier environment, Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC), in partnership with MP Smarter Travel, introduced the eCargo Bike Accelerator Project.

The project

In early 2020, we worked with Brighton & Hove City Council on their application to the Energy Savings Trust and Department for Transport to gain funding for 12 cargo bikes and one trailer for the eCargo Bike Accelerator Project. The aim for this project was to help support local businesses and organisations to switch from using motor vehicles to eCargo bikes to deliver their goods and services. For those who wanted to take part in the scheme, the council provided eligible businesses £125 to help make the change.

After a successful application the 12 eCargo bikes and trailer were distributed to Council teams, Zedify, a local eCargo bike delivery service, and five small businesses ranging from tradespeople, distilleries and bulk food suppliers.

Our Goals

  • Engage 100 businesses across all industries
  • Register 12 businesses to take part


How we did it

Step 1: Promotion and Engagement

With so many businesses in Brighton and Hove, the Council needed our support in structuring delivering widescale business engagement. We started by listing key businesses by type and which businesses would be highly likely to engage with a transition to eCargo bike deliveries. High priority businesses are independent and already complete deliveries by diesel/petrol vehicle and within the local area. We partnered with the local Council, business improvement district, Chamber of Commerce, business groups as well as undertook cold calling exercises to promote the initiative.

Step 2: Determine eligibility and requirements

In order to receive a subsidy, businesses needed to be based in Brighton & Hove City and their use of eCargo bikes needed to replace an existing diesel/petrol delivery. Subsidies were not given out retrospectively, so the switch to eCargo bikes needed to be new.

Step 3: Sign up

Once eligibility was confirmed, businesses were either guided to purchasing their own eCargo bike or paired with Zedify, an eCargo bike courier service. Once introduced to Zedify, businesses would take part in a one-month trial of the service, receiving their £125 subsidy as a rebate at the end of the trial in exchange for feedback on the experience.

Zedify were able to use a range of different-sized, two, three and four-wheeled cargo bikes to transport a wide range of goods, using the electric motor built into the bikes to tackle even the steepest hills in Brighton & Hove.

A number of businesses expressed an interest in acquiring their own eCargo bike as they were already making frequent deliveries. For these businesses we provided guidance and advice on the types of eCargo bikes available for their needs and where these could be purchased. With existing relationships with a number of retailers, we were able to introduce them to the ideal partner who was able to offer the optimum eCargo bike.


  • We signed up 15 businesses ranging from clothing and homeware retailers, to florists and wine merchants, to use Zedify as a third-party cargo bike service, beating our target of 13.
  • Assisted two businesses to acquire their own cargo bike – making the switch to eCargo bikes permanent.


"Working with MP Smarter Travel on the BHCC eCargo Bike Accelerator Project was an absolute pleasure and delivery of this project was first-rate, even during a pandemic. Communication and set up of the project with Arun Khagram was clear and concise. Project delivery, done by Oli Ivens, was superb. I was thoroughly impressed with Oli’s knowledge of the eCargo bike sector and industry. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience working with Arun and Oli on this project.”

Daniel Bianco, Brighton & Hove City Council



* https://ww3.brighton-hove.gov.uk/sites/brighton-hove.gov.uk/files/Brighton%20and%20Hove%20Economic%20Strategy%20-%20Full%20Evidence%20Base%20Report%20-%20FINAL.pdf


Published in Case studies

This month, Bikes for Business, an initiative with Team London Bridge, Better Bankside, Southwark Council, Shad Thames, Spa Terminus, Blue Bermondsey, Walworth LEN and Druid Street Traders, was launched to encourage local businesses to switch from using cars and vans to cargo bikes to delivery services and goods. Businesses who operate in and around the London Bridge area, or who deliver frequently within the vicinity, could be eligible for up to £700 in subsidies towards a cargo bike of their choosing.

MP Smarter Travel is managing the project delivery, working with cargo bike operators, businesses and each project partner to help reduce carbon emissions and encourage more sustainable transport throughout the area. Bikes for Business is funded by Impact on Urban Health.

To celebrate the launch, on Wednesday 23 June, MP Smarter Travel and Team London Bridge hosted a cargo bike convoy. Starting at Southwark Park, the convoy of 30+ cargo bike operators from across London, made their way from Bermondsey, along Druid Street up to London Bridge, through Borough Market before finishing at the Tate Modern for an informal networking session and photos. An exciting start to the day, the project was featured on BBC Radio London in the morning before the convoy took off and in the evening on Sky news.

pin birdsongcargobikes-600

According to London Friends of Green Spaces Network, 85 per cent of people say that nature makes them happier, so we had our Bikes for Business convoy play birdsong as they cycled to replace traffic noise. The flurry of birdsong also showed just how much more we would be able to hear and enjoy if more cargo bikes were used and fewer motor vehicles were on the road, making London a more people friendly and healthier place.

"We were honoured and humbled to participate in the Bikes for Business campaign this year. As a relatively new operator in what is quickly becoming a competitive sector in London, it was wonderful to see a huge number of service providers acting in solidarity for cargo bikes.

A huge thank you from Zhero to Team London Bridge for making this event such a success, it’s thoroughly inspiring to be a part of this movement and to see us Londoners catching up with our European friends in making the cargo-bike the go-to logistics vehicle for our city."

Joe Sharpe, Co-Founder, Zhero

Did you see us as we cycled through? Share your pictures with us on social media tagging @MP Smarter Travel and @teamlondonbridge and use the hashtag #BikesForBusiness.

If your business is located in or around London Bridge (SE1), or if you deliver regularly within the area, and would like to know more about Bikes for Business, visit the Team London Bridge website or contact bikesforbusiness@mpsmartertravel.co.uk for more information.

Published in Blog

We are looking to expand our team by recruiting a Graduate Sustainable Transport Consultant who will provide additional support on our range of projects across the public and private sectors. You will be responsible for delivery on projects that include; air quality monitoring, school travel plans, modal shift and engagement with businesses to promote sustainable transport initiatives.

This is a fantastic opportunity to gain experience in the sustainable transport sectors and gain project management experience as part of a supportive team of professionals with a shared passion for sustainable transport. We are keen to support your personal development, offering excellent career progression and the opportunity to play a role in work winning and business strategy.

Based in the vibrant Southbank area of London, we share an office with our parent company, Mattinson Partnership - a specialist recruiter for the built and natural environment. You can expect a busy, friendly office and an active social scene with regular staff events. Flexible working options are also available.

About you

We are looking for an outgoing and confident 'people person' who is comfortable speaking with large numbers of schools and businesses by phone and in-person to persuade them to participate in our clients' sustainable transport / air quality programmes. You will have excellent spoken and written communications skills, organisational skills and attention to detail. You should also be able to demonstrate an interest in transport, air quality and/or the built environment. A background in sales, customer service or survey delivery is desirable. A degree-level education (or equivalent) is preferred.

Role and responsibilities:

  • Contribute to a variety of projects including air quality monitoring, school travel plans, and engagement with businesses to promote cycling and air quality initiatives.
  • Lead projects to collect travel data from schools in central London by contacting schools, arranging to visit, and delivering in-class 'hands up' surveys.
  • Provide project support for our bikes for business initiative, promoting the use of cargo bikes across Southwark.
  • Provide input for our website and social media accounts.
  • Attend networking events as required.

Key skills and experience

  • Outgoing and confident manner
  • Excellent spoken and written communication skills
  • Excellent organisational skills and attention to detail
  • Demonstrated interest in transport, air quality and/or the built environment
  • Background in sales, customer service or survey delivery
  • Data analysis and report writing
  • Degree-level education or equivalent
  • Ability to ride a bicycle in London and own a bicycle (desired)

To apply

Apply now with your cv and cover letter highlighting what attracts you to the position and what you think you can bring to the role to info@mattinsonpartnership.com or apply on the Mattinson Partnership website

Deadline for applications is 5th July.

Published in Blog

This May, MP Smarter Travel partnered with Brent Council as they launched their first ever cargo bike project for businesses in and around Harlesden, to deliver goods and services, or for recycling collection. Three local businesses took part in this project, Sparks cycle shop, Harlesden Mutual Aid and Crazy Baker.

Sparks cycle shop used Zap Waste, working in partnership with Pedal Me, to collect their cardboard recycling. Instead of using a big truck which comes through the high street, restricting road access to pedestrians and other drivers, Zap Waste were able to park outside the shop, collect their recycling and load it into the bike, quickly and easily. What’s more, by using a cargo bike, carbon dioxide emissions were zero and there was no noise pollution.

“The Brent trial was a great opportunity for us to test collecting waste with cargo bikes. We offer simple, fast and flexible business waste collections, so it was important to put that to the test. We believe there is a healthy future for cargo bikes in waste logistics.”
Nic Hamilton, Founder, Zap Waste

Second to trial cargo bikes was Harlesden Mutual Aid, a local charity providing food and emergency supplies to residents in the area. Pedal Me were engaged to work with the charity to deliver both hot and cold food parcels and so far have delivered almost 200 meals.

Artisan bakery, Crazy Baker, known for their delicious cupcakes and fresh bread, also used Zap Waste to collect their dry mixed recycling. Located on a busy road with plenty of foot traffic, Zap Waste were able to pull up outside the bakery with little disruption to traffic and pedestrians, collect the recycling and head on to the recycling centre, quickly and easily. Again, as a result of using cargo bikes the trip had zero carbon emissions and made for a speedy pick up.

"We're really excited to be working with MP Smarter Travel to support new businesses to transition away from slow and inefficient vans or cars to more modern cargo bike based services like ourselves. We're often able to do the work of many motor vehicles with one cargo bike - saving our clients time and money and to make more sales."
Ben Knowles, CEO and Rider, Pedal Me

The ability to implement environmentally friendly and efficient deliveries and recycling collection is easy and cost effective. With more and more London boroughs and cities across the UK embracing more eco-friendly ways to transport and deliver goods and services, cargo bikes are becoming increasingly popular.

At MP Smarter Travel, we’ve worked with a number of cities and London boroughs to help businesses make the switch from vans to cargo bikes including Brighton & Hove and Southwark. If you’re a local council and want to find out more about how we can help those in your local area use cargo bikes, contact us at info@mpsmartertravel.co.uk

Published in Blog

Ghent, Oslo, Copenhagen and Madrid are cities that have made a concerted effort to make their centres car-free. In the UK, the city of Brighton & Hove could soon follow. But with no cars allowed, how does freight reach its destination?

What are Low Traffic Neighbourhoods?

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTN) are areas in which motor vehicle through traffic is restricted using physical barriers or ANPR cameras. Each vehicle can still access streets inside the LTN but can’t pass through. Without through traffic, LTN internal roads become quieter, offering a more attractive environment to encourage a mode shift to walking and cycling. London has been installing LTNs since the 1970s. Approximately 95 new LTNs have been installed as part of TfL’s Streetspace programme, which was launched during the COVID pandemic. Car-free city centres are essentially more ambitious LTNs, with the city centre as one or several Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.

LTNs and car-free city centres are controversial, one of the key concerns is how freight could be delivered to businesses in these areas. In Ghent, Belgium, one city which has implemented LTNs, essential transport such as emergency services and public transport retain access to the city centre, whereas freight is delivered using a combination of:

1. Re-timing

2. Consolidation; and

3. Switching from vans and lorries to cargo bikes and electric vehicles

Let’s look at how freight works in the car-free city centre of Ghent, Belgium.

Car-free city centre in Ghent, Belgium

Ghent’s Circulation Plan, introduced in April 2017, splits the city into seven Low Traffic Neighbourhoods with the centre having the tightest restrictions, albeit not entirely car-free.

Despite the Circulation Plan being seen with scepticism by national media before its implementation, the scheme has been a resounding success. In fact, a year after the plan’s introduction, Filip Watteeuw, Deputy Mayor, received his highest electoral score and was re-elected. The Circulation Plan has created a 40 per cent reduction in car use on key routes, a 25 per cent increase in bike use, and an 18 per cent reduction in inner city air pollution (Ref: Streetfilms).  


So how does freight work in Ghent?

Buses, taxis and emergency services are allowed access to the city centre, while all delivery vans must leave the area by 11am. Since the circulation plan was introduced, the city has seen a 20 per cent increase in new businesses in the hotel and restaurant industry with 7 per cent fewer bankruptcies, proving the initiative to not only be environmentally friendly, but a boost economically.

As businesses adapted their approach to freight deliveries, new cargo bike operators have emerged in the city. DHL now consolidate deliveries outside the city’s ring road, completing the last mile by bike. The city’s maintenance teams have also adopted cargo bikes for street cleaning and the management of green spaces. Even through the pandemic, courier Cargo Velo, have seen a surge in business to customer deliveries in the city centre. Multi-national supermarket, Carrefour, have made the move to using cargo bikes in Ghent through ShipTo. Cargo bikes, along with time-restricted van deliveries are helping Ghent’s businesses flourish.  

Combining electric vans, consolidation and cargo bikes, Ghent University and the City Council have begun ‘LOOP Ghent’. University deliveries are consolidated at a central hub, with the last mile completed by a single carrier using electric vehicles and cargo bikes. By consolidating deliveries into zero-emission vehicles, there are fewer delivery vehicles on the streets, with each vehicle producing fewer emissions, and each runs more fully-loaded. Ghent has proven that Low Traffic Neighbourhoods can be implemented without restricting the flow of goods to businesses.  

How a UK city is championing cleaner freight in its approach to become Carbon Neutral by 2030

In the UK, the city of Brighton & Hove is exploring the possibility of a ‘liveable city centre’ and are currently developing a pilot Low Traffic Neighbourhood in Hanover, as well as trialling five school streets closures, prohibiting motor vehicles from accessing some roads during school drop off and pick up times. Further  car-free measures could be introduced as early as 2023 as part of the council’s strategy to become a carbon neutral city by 2030 and in line with the findings of the resident-led and innovative Climate Assembly. If the changes go ahead, Brighton & Hove could employ similar measures as Ghent to keep their freight moving. 

In Brighton & Hove, transport is one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions, accounting for a third of the city’s carbon emissions. Like other cities, it has seen a significant increase in the number of freight and delivery vehicles in recent years, with the growth in online shopping and takeaway orders; this has grown further in the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Since September 2020, MP Smarter Travel has been working with Brighton & Hove City Council to deliver the eCargo Bike Accelerator project to replace petrol and diesel vehicles with clean and efficient cargo bikes. In its first phase, the project has demonstrated that even without car-free measures, there is strong demand for zero emission deliveries across the city. 

Brighton & Hove businesses are showing that cargo bikes represent a feasible solution for many urban freight trips. Trade businesses Mittens Plumbing and Mid-Sussex Electrical recently joined the eCargo Bike Accelerator project and now complete the majority of their city-centre home visits by cargo bike, drastically reducing their emissions and saving each business £350 a month on fuel, insurance and parking.


Image courtesy of Brighton & Hove City Council, eCargo Bike Accelerator project

Brighton and Hove City Council are well-placed to consider complimentary transport adaptations, including access for emergency vehicles, public transport and freight as part of a potential liveable city centre. Freight movements could be re-timed to happen outside of peak commuting hours, with deliveries consolidated in micro-hubs on the city’s outskirts. As has been shown in our recent work, there is strong business demand for switching to cargo bikes. Once introduced, Brighton & Hove could be a leading example of this new approach to freight working in a car-free city centre.


Published in Blog

Unlocking the potential for cycling in London Bridge             

Team London Bridge wants more people to cycle to and from the area every day for all types of trips. In order to increase cycling, they commissioned MP Smarter Travel and ActivePlanning to develop a Cycling Strategy.

MP Smarter Travel focused on cycle hire, deliveries by cargo bikes, behaviour change, and communications. Our approach was to consult with the general public and a wide range of businesses, Business Improvement Districts and local authorities to understand their priorities and get examples of best practice.

MP Smarter Travel’s recommendations for increasing cargo bikes formed the basis for Team London Bridge’s successful application for the TfL Deliveries Reduction Fund.

If you would like support with promoting cycling, business engagement or strategy development, feel free to get in touch.

Team London Bridge Cycling Strategy cropped 4x6


Published in Case studies

Working with schools to promote sustainable and active travel                                

Since 2011, MP Smarter Travel has delivered 22 academic years’ worth of School Travel Plan programmes on behalf of six local authority clients. Our core services include follow-ups with schools to maximise engagement and accreditation, training through workshops and phone/e-mail support, and expert advice on selection and delivery of sustainable transport measures.

We have a strong track record of increasing accreditation levels (ie. schools with Gold, Silver or Bronze). For the average multi-year commission, boroughs start with 29% school accreditation, and end with 77% accreditation.

If you would like support with School Travel Plans, feel free to get in touch.

School Travel Plan programme


Published in Case studies
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Case studies