Birmingham needs to think radically if it is to reduce congestion, lower noise and improve air quality – without damaging the strength of the regional economy – according to Transport for West Midlands.

Speaking exclusively to, Laura Shoaf, MD of Transport for West Midlands, said: “Being at the centre of the road network and of the rail network gives us a competitive advantage in terms of attracting and retaining businesses, and freight plays a huge part in the regional economy.

“We have real air quality issues in the region, and we are mandated to address that,” she added. “The public have the expectation that they have a right to breath clean air.”

However, she added: “Businesses need roads to move freight to market. Moving non-essential road journeys off the road and providing well-priced, public transport alternatives will mean the network runs at its maximum.”

Shoaf is chairing a debate on ‘How to influence customers’ delivery expectations’ at Freight in the City Birmingham on 1 March and said that she would “certainly be interested” in hearing the views of the panellists when it comes to reducing the impact that final-mile deliveries have on congestion, noise and air quality.

She cited the use of electric-powered tricycles in trials in cities in Scandinavia as the kind of radical solutions required to address such challenges.

  • The Freight in the City Spring Summit takes place on 1 March at Edgbaston Stadium in Birmingham. It is free to attend, so make sure you reserve your place today.