Inventive young designers of tomorrow are being invited to create the next-generation of safer, urban trucks in an exciting new competition from Transport for London (TfL).

The Future Truck Design Awards have been developed to explore all aspects of improving the safety and operation of trucks in towns and cities.

With the population of the UK expected to rise to 81 million by 2060, making the UK one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, our towns and cities are getting increasingly busy. This expanding population means rising demand for places to live and work, with increasing expectations of round-the-clock availability of goods and services.

The freight industry must feed the urban economy and, with more traffic than ever sharing crowded streets, making these large goods vehicles as safe as possible for other road users is vital.

Launching at next week’s Freight in the City Expo at London’s Alexandra Palace, the awards will ask students to create radical and game-changing ideas that could be incorporated into the trucks and freight operations of the future.

TfL said this opportunity is more than a theoretical exercise and the chance to win a £1,000 cash prize – the safer vehicle designs and systems of operation developed for these awards could save lives.

Road safety is a particularly high-profile issue in cities due to the number of accidents involving vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, and the increasing popularity of active travel.

The TfL document ‘Delivering a Road Freight Legacy’ states that: “Ensuring the safety and security of all users, including cyclists, pedestrians, drivers and vehicles, should be the highest priority for anyone who uses or manages London’s roads. It is the single greatest challenge facing any major city with a growing population and a changing profile of road users.”

Through engagement with schools, colleges and universities, the awards aim to raise the profile and awareness of commercial vehicle safety through an active media campaign and design competition.

Closely aligned with TfL’s Safer Trucks Programme, the competition will: seek out innovative new ideas that can help inform future vehicle design; identify sources of new talent; accelerate the development of safer urban trucks; and showcase the programme of work undertaken by TfL to protect vulnerable road users.

There will be three categories for students to enter, all of which must be for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes:

  • Whole vehicle design: All age groups eligible to enter. Entries will produce designs covering the whole of the vehicle and will be expected to have designed safety features into the overall vehicle package;
  • Safety feature innovation: Open to the 16-to-18 and 18-plus age groups only, entries will produce ideas for new safety features which could be added to the vehicle to improve safety;
  • System of operation: Open to the 16-to-18 and 18-plus age groups only, entries will produce ideas for innovation in urban freight deliveries which would have a significant impact on safety in operation.

Hints and tips for students on making the most of their entries, prize details and full eligibility criteria can be found at

The competition will be officially launched at Freight in the City Expo on 27 October and open for entries on 1 January 2016. The closing date will be 11 March 2016, with a shortlist – chosen by a panel of expert industry judges – announced on 4 April 2016. Awards will be presented at a ceremony on 26 April.

  • Freight in the City Expo is a free-to-attend, one-day event focusing on the challenges of delivering into city centres. A top line-up of industry speakers, as well as an exhibition of the latest urban vehicles and equipment, make this an event not to be missed. Register today and join more than 700 of your industry peers at Alexandra Palace on 27 October.