Like energy and automotive before it, UK freight transport is now on the cusp of a socio-technical transition away from fossil fuel dependency. This transition will require major investment to fleet and infrastructure, cause disruption to assets and business models, and will trigger significant reconfiguration. Whilst the scaling up of fossil phase-out is most likely to occur from the 2030s onwards, the next 10 years of investments are critical to enabling the transition, and to mitigating transition risks to the “hard to abate” freight sectors, and by association UK trade.
Our concept to address this challenge is for a Network of broad but interconnected academic excellence integrated with key and leading stakeholders in freight decarbonisation, that collaboratively develops and applies knowledge and understanding of rapid freight decarbonisation. We will use this Network to collect and distil current knowledge, as well as to identify and de-risk the key remaining research challenges that can unleash significant freight-decarbonisation targeted investment and guide enabling policy.
This Network connects five freight transport investments made by the EPSRC with a track record of a whole systems approach to decarbonisation of UK freight flows (international and national), and of closely integrating and embedding research with industry and policy makers alike.