Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed three new out-of-hours delivery trials are to start in London, after signing a deal with an external consultancy to manage and assess them.

The trials will focus on three distinct areas, said a spokesman for TfL: the possibility of a long-term change in delivery behaviour; options to change the delivery conditions imposed through the planning process; and demonstrating the use of various pieces of quiet delivery equipment.

The spokesman was unable to confirm the consultancy involved or the exact timetable for the trials, but said they would all be open-ended and should lead to new guidance on out-of-hours deliveries being produced. He added: “Assuming the new delivery patterns are embedded and acceptable to all parties, the expectation is they will be adopted as business as usual.”

The first of the trials includes nine retail stores, four in inner London and five in outer London, and will involve deliveries earlier or later in the day than those currently being made, he said. “The proposal is to develop an ongoing process to grow the number of stores gradually,” he added.

One key area in the trials is to test the viability of reducing deliveries in the early morning peak, he confirmed. “It is clear that we need to manage London’s road network as the city continues to grow by some 1.7m residents by 2030,” he said. “To do this, a large amount of freight activity will need to move from the traditional daily peak between 7am and 11am.”

TfL originally announced its intention to trial more out-of-hours deliveries in October last year, when it unveiled the creation of a new Out-of-Hours Consortium comprising TfL, a number of London boroughs and retailers, London Councils, and the FTA and RHA.