Smart Transport

E-cargo bikes deliver faster than vans in city centre

Red and black Pedal Me cargo bike

Electric cargo (e-cargo) bikes can deliver goods about 60% faster than vans in London, according to new research.

The promise of low-carbon freight report used GPS data from Pedal Me cargo bike routes and compared them to the routes that vans would have had to take to deliver the same parcels

It found that, on average, the bikes were 1.61 times faster as they benefit from being able to take shortcuts through streets blocked to motor traffic and can quickly park up close to their destinations to drop off packages.

In addition to the time saving, the cargo bikes saved a total 3,896kg of carbon emissions and more than 5.5kg of nitrogen oxides across the 98 days of work that were analysed.

In places such as Germany and France, there are 100,000 and 50,000 cargo bikes purchased respectively, each year, compared to the 2,000 that were sold in the UK last year, which highlights the potential for growth, according to climate charity Possible, which commissioned the research along with the Active Travel Academy. 

Ersilia Verlinghieri, senior research fellow at the Active Travel Academy, said: “With recent estimates from Europe suggesting that up to 51% of all freight journeys in cities could be replaced by cargo bike, it’s remarkable to see that, if even just a portion of this shift were to happen in London, it would be accompanied by not only dramatic reduction of CO2 emissions, but also contribute to a considerable mitigation of risks from air pollution and road traffic collisions whilst ensuring an efficient, fast and reliable urban freight system.”

Hirra Khan Adeogun, head of car rree Ccties at climate charity Possible, added: “Cargo bikes mean more speed and efficiency for the customers, better health for couriers, a decreased carbon footprint for traders, and ultimately cleaner air and more public space for all Londoners to enjoy.

"Delivery vans contribute significantly to worsening air quality and take up valuable space on our roads.

"We’ve seen home deliveries skyrocket during the Covid lockdowns and that trend is likely to continue. We urgently need to put on the brakes and reevaluate how goods move through our cities. Cargo bikes are one solution that we need to get behind. ”

Smart Transport National Conference 2023

The UK’s largest two-day conference for senior private and public sector transport leaders and policymakers to work together to transform the UK’s transport network and achieve net zero will take place on 21 & 22 November 2023, The Eastside Rooms, Birmingham.

The high-level conference will bring together senior transport leaders who help shape transport policy and deliver its infrastructure.

It aims to promote best in class initiatives from the private and public sector and bring people together through networking, knowledge transfer and discussion and is seen as UK's largest, trusted and most credible transport conference to facilitate public and private sector collaboration.

The agenda will deliver a speaker faculty of 80+ expert speakers, including senior transport politicians, from the UK and beyond. And we expect an audience of 300+ delegates to attend. 

Speakers come from authorities and organisations such as: The Department for Transport, England’s Economic Heartland, Birmingham City Council, Transport for West Midlands, Midlands Connect, TIER Mobility, CoMoUK, Lambeth Council, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Enterprise Holdings, FedEx, Worldline and Cornwall Council.

Find out more and book tickets

November 2022 conference video highlights

Book your one or two-day ticket now!

Comment as guest

Login  /  Register


No comments have been made yet.

Related content

Office Address
  • Smart Transport
    Media House
    Lynch Wood
    PE2 6EA
Join the community
  • Register to receive our digital content / products and service / information about our events.
  • Register now.
  • Conference


Welcome to Smart Transport

Welcome to the Smart Transport website, keeping you up-to-date with the latest news, insight and reports from policymakers and thought leaders.

The Smart Transport brand connects policy to solutions by bringing national government and local authority policymakers together with private sector organisations.

Contact Ernest Olaseinde for more information.

© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd
Media House, Lynch Wood, Peterborough, PE2 6EA - Registered number 01176085 IPSO regulated logo


Smart Transport members

Smart Transport board members


Please note:
By submitting any material to us you are confirming that the material is your own original work or that you have permission from the copyright owner to use the material and to authorise Bauer Consumer Media to use it as described in this paragraph. You also promise that you have permission from anyone featured or
referred to in the submitted material to it being used by Bauer Consumer Media. If Bauer Consumer Media receives a claim from a copyright owner or a person
featured in any material you have sent us, we will inform that person that you have granted us permission to use the relevant material and you will be responsible for paying any amounts due to the copyright owner or featured person and/or for reimbursing Bauer Consumer Media for any losses it has suffered as a result.