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The University of Southampton

Research project: STRAIGHTSOL (Strategies and measures for smarter urban freight solutions)

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Urban areas represent particular challenges for freight transport, both in terms of logistical performance and environmental impact. A range of regulatory and technological measures have been used to try and improve the efficiency of freight transportation in urban areas but these have often been small scale pilot trials and there is a need to undertake wider evaluation to truly understand the range of benefits.  This project was completed in March 2015.

The objectives of STRAIGHTSOL are threefold:

1) Develop a new impact assessment framework for measures applied to urban-interurban freight transport interfaces.
2) Support a set of innovative field demonstrations showcasing improved urban-interurban freight operations in Europe.
3) Apply the impact assessment framework to the live demonstrations and develop specific recommendations for future freight policies and measures.

Wireless sensor devices
Wireless sensor devices

The project is being led by the Institute of Transport Economics at the Norwegian Centre for Transport Research and involves 15 partners. The University of Southampton is working with Oxfam to investigate how remote monitoring technology could be used to better optimise collection schedules from textile donation banks.

Oxfam is a registered charity in England and Scotland, having 1300 donation banks (textiles and books) situated across the UK. At present, bank collections are not driven by demand (that is, by the amount of stock in the bank). Schedules are based around historical or 'typical' fill frequencies and can often result in collection vehicles travelling to remote banks, only to find that sub-optimal quantities of stock have been donated since the previous collection. If banks can be interrogated remotely then more meaningful collection schedules can be devised, focussing on the most profitable banks that need servicing more frequently. In this demonstration, the main 'smart' concept is allowing donation banks to become individual entities as part of the 'Internet of Things' where they can converse with and receive information from other entities.

The demonstration is covering a subset of the Oxfam textile banks around Milton Keynes which have been equipped with Smartbin detectors. These are being used to report fill levels twice a day and determine the most optimal collection schedule order given a series of servicing rules stipulating the minimum fill levels at which banks should be serviced.

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Related research groups

Transportation Group


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