Mr Julian Allen

I began working as a researcher at the University of Westminster in 1992. My major research interests are urban freight transport, the impact of manufacturing and retailing techniques on logistics and transportation systems, the relationship between policy measures and freight transport operations, the market structure of the freight transport industry, and the history of road freight transport.

I have worked on many different projects during my time as a researcher at the University of Westminster. Projects have been carried out for a wide range of bodies including the Department for Transport, the European Commission, the Department of Trade and Industry, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Transport for London, the Energy Savings Trust, ADEME and London boroughs. A summary of some of these projects is provided below.

Centre for Sustainable Road Freight (SRF) (EPSRC, 2018-2023) A collaboration between Westminster, Cambridge and Heriot-Watt Universities, and public and private sector organizations in the freight transport and logistics sector. Its purpose is to research engineering and organizational solutions to make road freight economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. The current programme of research includes vehicle engineering initiatives to reduce fuel consumption, agent-based logistics modelling to test scenarios in various logistics sectors, and consideration of suitable freight transport policy making to bring about solutions that are sustainable for both industry and the environment. A vital feature of the Centre is its close links with the freight industry. Project website: 

Freight Traffic Control 2050 (FTC2050) (EPSRC, 2016-2019) The University of Westminster worked with several other universities (Southampton, UCL, Lancaster and Liverpool) together with Transport for London and same- and next-day logistics companies to investigate the efficiency and traffic and environmental sustainability of the parcel delivery sector. The FTC 2050 project team has investigated innovations that could be implemented within a single company to improve operational efficiency and, at the same time, reduce transport intensity and energy and environmental impacts, right through to the potential for operational collaboration between carriers. Project website: 

VREF CoE-SUFS (Volvo Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Urban Freight Systems) (Volvo Research and Education Foundation 2015-2020) The University of Westminster is a partner in this project led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in America. The mission of CoE-SUFS is one of behaviour modification: to change the idea of urban freight systems from one driven by profit maximization to one that accounts for the externalities produced. It comprises 22 core and associate research partners in 16 countries (covering North America, central and south America, Africa, Asia, the Middle and Far East, Australasia, and the EU). Project website:

Future Mobility Project (UK Government Office for Science, 2018) The University carried out three evidence reviews for the UK Government Office for Science’s ‘Foresight Future of Mobility’ project. The three topics of the university’s evidence reviews were: i) online shopping and last-mile deliveries in urban areas, ii) the rail freight sector in Britain, iii) carbon emissions by road freight transport and how best to decarbonise the industry. These findings of these reviews were made use of in UK Government Office for Science’s project report published in 2019. Project website: 

City Logistics in Living Laboratories (CITYLAB) (European Commission, 2015-2018) In CITYLAB the University worked with freight transport and logistics operators, manufacturers and retailers, and urban authorities in seven major EU cities. The objectives of the CITYLAB project were to: (i) improve basic knowledge and understanding about the impacts of freight distribution and service trips in urban areas in the EU; (ii) test and implement innovative urban freight management solutions that could positively influence business profitability, reduce traffic and emissions, and have wider roll-out potential for the logistics sector; and (iii) provide a platform for replicating and disseminating the supported solutions. Project website:  

Green Logistics (EPSRC/Department for Transport-funded) (2006-2010) Being carried out with the universities of Leeds, Cardiff, Heriot Watt, Southampton and Lancaster. Examining a range of methodologies, tools and approaches that offer ways of measuring and reducing the environmental impact of various elements freight transport. I am leading the work module concerned with urban freight transport and light goods vehicles.

London Freight Data Centre (Transport for London funded, 2006 onwards). Established a London Freight Data Centre for TfL - the first of its kind in the UK. Produced a London Freight Data Report that supports the TfL London Freight Plan (2008) and have developed sustainable progress measures to monitor the economic, social and environmental impacts of freight activity in London.

Best Urban Freight Solutions (BESTUFS) (European Commission-funded, 2000 - 2008) Participant in BESTUFS project since 2000, and the project's UK focal point. Project identified, promoted and disseminated sustainable approaches to urban freight transport and logistics. I was a co-author of a Good Practice Guide to Urban Freight published in 17 languages, and worked on the standardisation of urban freight data collection.

Energy Consumption in the Supply Chain (ADEME-funded, 2004-2009) This project, carried out in conjunction with INRETS, developed an approach for analysing transport activity, energy use and CO 2 emissions in the supply of denim jeans and yoghurt. This was followed by another ADEME-funded project that analysed the supply chains for fruit and vegetables and furniture.

Review of Freight Modelling (Department for Transport funded, 2001-2002). The aim was to review current freight modelling techniques and to make recommendations to DfT on the most appropriate techniques for use in Britain. My contribution was on the topics of light goods vehicles, and development in freight transport and logistics.

Modelling Policy Measures and Company Initiatives for Sustainable Urban Distribution (EPSRC-funded, 2001-2003). Carried out with Birmingham City Council, Hampshire County Council, Norfolk County Council and several logistics companies including Exel, the CERT Group, Securicor Omega Express and TDG. Investigated the scope to improve the economic and environmental efficiency of freight transport operations in various urban freight transport operations in the UK. Included major data collection efforts, the development of a database to analyse this data, and to model likely changes.

A Framework for Considering Policies to Encourage Sustainable Urban Freight Traffic and Goods/Service Flows (EPSRC funded, 1998-2000) An exploratory study into goods and services flows to and from premises in urban areas, and the vehicle activity that supports these flows. The aim of the research was to develop and apply a framework for understanding urban freight transport in its broadest sense that reflects the breadth of freight and service-related transport activity in urban areas. The approach has been applied by other researchers since its development.

Transport and Supply Logistics of Biomass Fuels (DTI-funded, 1994-1996) Concerned with establishing suitable supply chains (including all transport and logistics activities) for the supply of biomass fuels such as wood and energy crops from the point of production to large scale electricity generation plants, and developing an analytical approach to understand the economic, social and environmental impacts of the different potential supply chain options.

Financial and Operational Performance in Road Freight Transport (Lloyds Bowmaker funded, 1994-1998). Conducted analysis into the financial and operational performance of UK road haulage companies for Lloyds Bowmaker, the corporate finance house, in a series of four studies all of which were published and circulated to the customer's clients and the general public.

  • Centre for Urban Infrastructures