London, United Kingdom
London, United Kingdom

Transport for London is the local government body responsible for most aspects of the transport system in Greater London in England. Its role is to implement the transport strategy and to manage transport services across London. Its head office is in the Windsor House in the City of Westminster. Wikipedia.


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News Article | February 17, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

Uber has been accused of exploiting a legal loophole that allows its drivers to operate in UK towns and cities where they don’t have a licence, leaving local authorities powerless to regulate them. Mick Rix, the GMB union’s national officer for the hackney and private-hire taxi trade, said the company behind the cab-hailing app was “acting with impunity” across the UK, where it was increasingly “spreading its tentacles” into smaller towns and cities. After changes to the law surrounding taxi licensing, brought in by the Deregulation Act 2015, drivers with a private-hire licence from a local authority can use it to operate anywhere in England and Wales. Previously, the law required drivers to return to the area in which they were licensed between jobs. Rix said the deregulation of the market and the arrival of Uber had “opened up a real hornets’ nest” all over the UK, where 40,000 Uber drivers now operate in more than 25 towns and cities. Last month, Southend council found that two cab drivers it had previously stripped of their licences were using the Uber app to pick up passengers in the area. Nasser Hussain, 60, and Nisar Abbas, 37, had been found to be sharing penalty points for traffic offences with other drivers in order to avoid being banned. Despite this, they were able to get new cab licences from Transport for London, which permitted them to work legally using the Uber app in Southend, where Uber does not have an operators’ licence. Tony Cox, Southend council’s cabinet member for transport, said the legislative loophole had left the local authority “impotent to protect the public”. Councillors in other local authorities have also complained that Uber drivers who do not fulfil the authority’s specific licensing requirements – such as minimum vehicle age and successful completion of a knowledge test for the area – can still operate legally in their jurisdiction with a licence from elsewhere. Licensing fees also vary from area to area, leading some to suggest that drivers are seeking out the authorities where it is cheapest to get a private-hire licence. Reading council denied Uber a licence to operate last year, but during the summer’s Reading festival an average of 1,000 passengers a day took a trip using the taxi app. Although it is not known where the drivers travel in from, it is thought that many are licensed by nearby Slough borough council and Windsor and Maidenhead borough council. Councillor Paul Gittings, Reading council’s lead member for consumer services, said there was nothing the local authority could do to stop Uber drivers operating in the area, even though the company had failed to meet its licensing conditions – specifically a requirement to have a manned office with a phone line. “I think it does create an uneven playing field, because other private-hire operators and hackney carriages are paying us a licensing fee,” he said. “But Uber drivers can still come along and pick up trade here.” York council has written to the city’s MPs, calling on them to demand clarity from the government over the law. Uber has a temporary licence to operate in the city and, although only 12 Uber drivers are licensed by York council, hundreds of Uber cabs arrive in York from surrounding areas every weekend, to take advantage of increased demand from the city’s student and tourist populations. Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, cited examples of Uber drivers disregarding rules that applied to drivers licensed in the city, such as the prohibition of tinted rear windows or the need for drivers to pass a knowledge test. “Every local authority has the duty of care within its own boundaries,” she said. “Sheffield [for example] cannot be responsible if something goes wrong in York. The duty of care lies with York council.” Matt Boxall, head of public protection at City of York council, said that while standards differed between authorities, City of York was working with other councils in the West Yorkshire combined authority region to create more standardised conditions. He stressed that the council took the safety of customers very seriously. Rix said problems had arisen because some local authorities were “giving licences away like sweets”, citing Rossendale council, which came under fire in 2015 when it was found to have given out more taxi licences per head of its population than London. The council has admitted it was slow to deal with the loopholes created by the Deregulation Act, but says it has since toughened up its licensing processes considerably. In October last year, 414 of Sheffield’s minicab drivers were found to have obtained their licences from Rossendale council, while 53 had taxi licences issued by Transport for London. Responding to the discovery, Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central, said the law allowed drivers to “shop around for the most easy-going regime and get their licence there”. This week, Uber announced it would offer its drivers free English courses and financial advice, as well as introducing an appeals panel for drivers with grievances against the company. This came after Uber faced criticism for denying its drivers basic employment rights. In October, Uber lost a landmark employment tribunal, which ruled that its drivers should be classed as workers rather than self-employed. The ruling, which Uber is appealing against, could leave the company open to claims from its drivers, who are currently not entitled to holiday pay, pensions or working time controls. A source at the Department for Transport said local authorities were ultimately responsible for the drivers they awarded licences to, regardless of where the drivers were picking up customers. He said the new Policing and Crime Act, which passed into law at the end of January, ensured that all local authorities had to carry out advanced background checks before issuing licences. An Uber spokesperson said: “Private-hire drivers are not restricted to driving within one licensing jurisdiction. In fact, it’s common practice for drivers licensed in one council to carry out trips in another. Drivers licensed in England and Wales can legally pick up and drop off passengers anywhere, as long as the trip is pre-booked and their vehicle and driver’s licence match the operator they are registered to. “Drivers who use the Uber app are no different to other licensed drivers – who all go through the same enhanced DBS background checks – but with our app they have the freedom that comes with being their own boss.”


LONDON, UK / ACCESSWIRE / February 16, 2017 / Active Wall St. blog coverage looks at the headline from Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. (NYSE: JEC) as the Company announced on February 15, 2017, that it had won a Property Management Contract from UK's Manchester City Council (MCC). The five-year contract is for providing property management and professional services at Manchester, UK. The contract will be under the purview of MCC's Strategic Development Directorate (SDD). Register with us now for your free membership and blog access at: One of Jacobs Engineering Group's competitors within the Technical Services space, AECOM (NYSE: ACM), reported Q1 FY17 results on February 07, 2017. AWS will be initiating a research report on AECOM in the coming days. Today, AWS is promoting its blog coverage on JEC; touching on ACM. Get all of our free blog coverage and more by clicking on the links below: MCC is the local government authority for Manchester, a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, UK. MCC is planning to promote Manchester as a world class, vibrant, economic and cultural center and has set up the SDD. The SDD will help MCC in this mission and set the ball rolling to transform Manchester and boost its economic growth. Commenting on the new contract from MCC, Jacobs Senior Vice President Buildings and Infrastructure Bob Duff said: "We look forward to continuing to work closely with Manchester City Council and its Strategic Development Directorate, discovering ways to help deliver key objectives for its property portfolio more efficiently. We have a thorough understanding of MCC's portfolio, and this contract represents an important step in supporting the city's efforts to generate critical income." "Jacobs submitted a high quality and competitive tender, and we are looking forward to developing our relationship with their team in what will be an exciting but challenging period for the Council." Jacobs' role is to help MCC in revenue generation through rental income, capital appreciation and capital receipts. The revenue so generated will help MCC to improve various services to the city. The entire project will be handled by Jacobs' Manchester office. The various responsibilities assigned to Jacobs under the contract includes: Management of MCC's investment estates; Professional and technical services - asset valuations, acquisitions, disposals and investment reports; Rent reviews, leases and associated support Place-making and regeneration recommendations (creating new urban spaces by reuse abandoned and empty property); Planned preventative maintenance to increase lettability (ability to be leased out) and improve tenant retention; High-quality rating advice; Access to planning, remediation (cleaning up and repair), and infrastructure services. The contract comes with a two-year extension clause. However, the financial details were not disclosed by the Company. Dallas, Texas based Jacobs was founded in 1947 is one of the largest construction services and consulting Companies in the world. Its services include all aspects of architecture, engineering and construction, operations and maintenance, as well as scientific and specialty consulting. Its operations are spread across over 230 locations across the globe and has an employee strength of over 54,000 people across these locations. Its revenues for FY2016 was nearly $11 billion. In UK, Jacobs has already worked on a number of projects including roads, rail, water, aviation, oil and gas, refining, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, power, nuclear, defense, and buildings. It employs more than 7,000 professional and technical practitioners in UK and currently has more than 900 trainee graduates, technicians, and apprentices. Some of the recent contracts the Jacobs has won in the UK in February 2017 include the following: Contract from the Thames Water Utilities Limited, UK, for providing engineering and environmental consultancy support until 2020; A two-year contract by Transport for London to provide integrated impact assessment services for the revised London Mayor's Transport Strategy. On Wednesday, February 15, 2017, the stock closed the trading session at $58.32, climbing 1.37% from its previous closing price of $57.53. A total volume of 1.15 million shares have exchanged hands, which was higher than the 3-month average volume of 1.05 million shares. Jacobs Engineering Group's stock price advanced 8.62% in the past six months, and 51.76% in the previous twelve months. Furthermore, since the start of the year, shares of the Company have gained 2.32%. The stock is trading at a PE ratio of 31.52 and has a dividend yield of 1.03%. Active Wall Street (AWS) produces regular sponsored and non-sponsored reports, articles, stock market blogs, and popular investment newsletters covering equities listed on NYSE and NASDAQ and micro-cap stocks. AWS has two distinct and independent departments. One department produces non-sponsored analyst certified content generally in the form of press releases, articles and reports covering equities listed on NYSE and NASDAQ and the other produces sponsored content (in most cases not reviewed by a registered analyst), which typically consists of compensated investment newsletters, articles and reports covering listed stocks and micro-caps. Such sponsored content is outside the scope of procedures detailed below. AWS has not been compensated; directly or indirectly; for producing or publishing this document. The non-sponsored content contained herein has been prepared by a writer (the "Author") and is fact checked and reviewed by a third party research service company (the "Reviewer") represented by a credentialed financial analyst, for further information on analyst credentials, please email info@activewallst.com. Rohit Tuli, a CFA® charterholder (the "Sponsor"), provides necessary guidance in preparing the document templates. The Reviewer has reviewed and revised the content, as necessary, based on publicly available information which is believed to be reliable. Content is researched, written and reviewed on a reasonable-effort basis. The Reviewer has not performed any independent investigations or forensic audits to validate the information herein. The Reviewer has only independently reviewed the information provided by the Author according to the procedures outlined by AWS. AWS is not entitled to veto or interfere in the application of such procedures by the third-party research service company to the articles, documents or reports, as the case may be. Unless otherwise noted, any content outside of this document has no association with the Author or the Reviewer in any way. AWS, the Author, and the Reviewer are not responsible for any error which may be occasioned at the time of printing of this document or any error, mistake or shortcoming. No liability is accepted whatsoever for any direct, indirect or consequential loss arising from the use of this document. AWS, the Author, and the Reviewer expressly disclaim any fiduciary responsibility or liability for any consequences, financial or otherwise arising from any reliance placed on the information in this document. Additionally, AWS, the Author, and the Reviewer do not (1) guarantee the accuracy, timeliness, completeness or correct sequencing of the information, or (2) warrant any results from use of the information. The included information is subject to change without notice. This document is not intended as an offering, recommendation, or a solicitation of an offer to buy or sell the securities mentioned or discussed, and is to be used for informational purposes only. Please read all associated disclosures and disclaimers in full before investing. Neither AWS nor any party affiliated with us is a registered investment adviser or broker-dealer with any agency or in any jurisdiction whatsoever. To download our report(s), read our disclosures, or for more information, visit http://www.activewallst.com/disclaimer/. For any questions, inquiries, or comments reach out to us directly. If you're a company we are covering and wish to no longer feature on our coverage list contact us via email and/or phone between 09:30 EDT to 16:00 EDT from Monday to Friday at: CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are registered trademarks owned by CFA Institute. LONDON, UK / ACCESSWIRE / February 16, 2017 / Active Wall St. blog coverage looks at the headline from Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. (NYSE: JEC) as the Company announced on February 15, 2017, that it had won a Property Management Contract from UK's Manchester City Council (MCC). The five-year contract is for providing property management and professional services at Manchester, UK. The contract will be under the purview of MCC's Strategic Development Directorate (SDD). Register with us now for your free membership and blog access at: One of Jacobs Engineering Group's competitors within the Technical Services space, AECOM (NYSE: ACM), reported Q1 FY17 results on February 07, 2017. AWS will be initiating a research report on AECOM in the coming days. Today, AWS is promoting its blog coverage on JEC; touching on ACM. Get all of our free blog coverage and more by clicking on the links below: MCC is the local government authority for Manchester, a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, UK. MCC is planning to promote Manchester as a world class, vibrant, economic and cultural center and has set up the SDD. The SDD will help MCC in this mission and set the ball rolling to transform Manchester and boost its economic growth. Commenting on the new contract from MCC, Jacobs Senior Vice President Buildings and Infrastructure Bob Duff said: "We look forward to continuing to work closely with Manchester City Council and its Strategic Development Directorate, discovering ways to help deliver key objectives for its property portfolio more efficiently. We have a thorough understanding of MCC's portfolio, and this contract represents an important step in supporting the city's efforts to generate critical income." "Jacobs submitted a high quality and competitive tender, and we are looking forward to developing our relationship with their team in what will be an exciting but challenging period for the Council." Jacobs' role is to help MCC in revenue generation through rental income, capital appreciation and capital receipts. The revenue so generated will help MCC to improve various services to the city. The entire project will be handled by Jacobs' Manchester office. The various responsibilities assigned to Jacobs under the contract includes: Management of MCC's investment estates; Professional and technical services - asset valuations, acquisitions, disposals and investment reports; Rent reviews, leases and associated support Place-making and regeneration recommendations (creating new urban spaces by reuse abandoned and empty property); Planned preventative maintenance to increase lettability (ability to be leased out) and improve tenant retention; High-quality rating advice; Access to planning, remediation (cleaning up and repair), and infrastructure services. The contract comes with a two-year extension clause. However, the financial details were not disclosed by the Company. Dallas, Texas based Jacobs was founded in 1947 is one of the largest construction services and consulting Companies in the world. Its services include all aspects of architecture, engineering and construction, operations and maintenance, as well as scientific and specialty consulting. Its operations are spread across over 230 locations across the globe and has an employee strength of over 54,000 people across these locations. Its revenues for FY2016 was nearly $11 billion. In UK, Jacobs has already worked on a number of projects including roads, rail, water, aviation, oil and gas, refining, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, power, nuclear, defense, and buildings. It employs more than 7,000 professional and technical practitioners in UK and currently has more than 900 trainee graduates, technicians, and apprentices. Some of the recent contracts the Jacobs has won in the UK in February 2017 include the following: Contract from the Thames Water Utilities Limited, UK, for providing engineering and environmental consultancy support until 2020; A two-year contract by Transport for London to provide integrated impact assessment services for the revised London Mayor's Transport Strategy. On Wednesday, February 15, 2017, the stock closed the trading session at $58.32, climbing 1.37% from its previous closing price of $57.53. A total volume of 1.15 million shares have exchanged hands, which was higher than the 3-month average volume of 1.05 million shares. Jacobs Engineering Group's stock price advanced 8.62% in the past six months, and 51.76% in the previous twelve months. Furthermore, since the start of the year, shares of the Company have gained 2.32%. The stock is trading at a PE ratio of 31.52 and has a dividend yield of 1.03%. Active Wall Street (AWS) produces regular sponsored and non-sponsored reports, articles, stock market blogs, and popular investment newsletters covering equities listed on NYSE and NASDAQ and micro-cap stocks. AWS has two distinct and independent departments. One department produces non-sponsored analyst certified content generally in the form of press releases, articles and reports covering equities listed on NYSE and NASDAQ and the other produces sponsored content (in most cases not reviewed by a registered analyst), which typically consists of compensated investment newsletters, articles and reports covering listed stocks and micro-caps. Such sponsored content is outside the scope of procedures detailed below. AWS has not been compensated; directly or indirectly; for producing or publishing this document. The non-sponsored content contained herein has been prepared by a writer (the "Author") and is fact checked and reviewed by a third party research service company (the "Reviewer") represented by a credentialed financial analyst, for further information on analyst credentials, please email info@activewallst.com. Rohit Tuli, a CFA® charterholder (the "Sponsor"), provides necessary guidance in preparing the document templates. The Reviewer has reviewed and revised the content, as necessary, based on publicly available information which is believed to be reliable. Content is researched, written and reviewed on a reasonable-effort basis. The Reviewer has not performed any independent investigations or forensic audits to validate the information herein. The Reviewer has only independently reviewed the information provided by the Author according to the procedures outlined by AWS. AWS is not entitled to veto or interfere in the application of such procedures by the third-party research service company to the articles, documents or reports, as the case may be. Unless otherwise noted, any content outside of this document has no association with the Author or the Reviewer in any way. AWS, the Author, and the Reviewer are not responsible for any error which may be occasioned at the time of printing of this document or any error, mistake or shortcoming. No liability is accepted whatsoever for any direct, indirect or consequential loss arising from the use of this document. AWS, the Author, and the Reviewer expressly disclaim any fiduciary responsibility or liability for any consequences, financial or otherwise arising from any reliance placed on the information in this document. Additionally, AWS, the Author, and the Reviewer do not (1) guarantee the accuracy, timeliness, completeness or correct sequencing of the information, or (2) warrant any results from use of the information. The included information is subject to change without notice. This document is not intended as an offering, recommendation, or a solicitation of an offer to buy or sell the securities mentioned or discussed, and is to be used for informational purposes only. Please read all associated disclosures and disclaimers in full before investing. Neither AWS nor any party affiliated with us is a registered investment adviser or broker-dealer with any agency or in any jurisdiction whatsoever. To download our report(s), read our disclosures, or for more information, visit http://www.activewallst.com/disclaimer/. For any questions, inquiries, or comments reach out to us directly. If you're a company we are covering and wish to no longer feature on our coverage list contact us via email and/or phone between 09:30 EDT to 16:00 EDT from Monday to Friday at: CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are registered trademarks owned by CFA Institute.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: techcrunch.com

Ford has begun testing of its new Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid with Transport for London, working with the UK city’s local transit authority to pilot 20 of the new vehicles in use during a 12-month trial with select London businesses for commercial use. The pilot of the vehicles, which feature a pure electric range of around 31 miles according to European agency measurement standards, is designed to pave the way for broad production and sales in Europe beginning in 2019. The Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV) version of the Transit is one of 13 total new electric or hybrid vehicles that Ford will introduce globally over the course of the five years, including a hybrid Mustang, F-150 and other cars to be announced later. The 20 PHEV Transit vehicles in this pilot are expected to be able to cover the majority of their daily use on their electric motors, Ford says, since their internal city routes to deliver goods or answer service calls shouldn’t typically exceed that capacity. Development of Ford’s test fleet for the London trial is supported by a £4.7 million ($5.8 million U.S.) grant from the UK’s Advanced Propulsion Centre, a government-funded research facility that was created in 2013 in partnership with industry to advance low emission alternatives to fuel-burning engines. London has also committed to creating an “Ultra Low Emission Zone” in the city core by 2020, which will incur a fee on any vehicles that exceed tight carbon output standards.


News Article | February 17, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

Older, more polluting cars will have to pay a £10 charge to drive in central London from 23 October, the city’s mayor has said. Confirming he would press ahead with the fee, known as the T-charge, Sadiq Khan said: “It’s staggering that we live in a city where the air is so toxic that many of our children are growing up with lung problems. If we don’t make drastic changes now we won’t be protecting the health of our families in the future. “That is why today, on the 14th anniversary of the start of the congestion charge, I’ve confirmed we are pressing ahead with the toughest emission standard of any major city, coming to our streets from 23 October.” The announcement came after fresh warnings this week about the poor quality of London’s air. The mayor spoke as he launched an online vehicle checker on the Transport for London website so drivers can check whether their vehicle will be affected by the T-charge, whose introduction coincides with the start of the autumn half-term. The levy is expected to affect up to 10,000 of the oldest, most polluting vehicles every week day, as it will apply to motorists who own vehicles that do not meet Euro 4 standards – typically those diesel and petrol vehicles registered before 2006. It will operate on top of, and during the same times, as the congestion charge, meaning it will cost £21.50 a day to drive a pre-Euro 4 vehicle in centre London between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday. London joins a growing number of cities around the world taking action against rising air pollution. In Paris, older more polluting vehicles are now banned between 8am-8pm on weekdays. Khan launched a consultation on the T-charge proposals last July at Great Ormond Street hospital for children, whose chief executive, Dr Peter Steer, said at the time: “The mayor’s drive to clean up the capital’s air is fantastic news for our patients and staff. Children living in highly polluted areas are four times more likely to have reduced lung function in adulthood, yet improving air quality has been shown to halt and reverse this effect.” Air pollution is believed to cause almost 40,000 premature deaths every year in the UK and was in April labelled a “public health emergency” by a cross-party committee of MPs. The government is facing a new legal challenge over the adequacy of its plans to tackle the issue, having already lost a previous case in 2015. Last year Khan published research that showed numerous schools in the capital were in areas that exceeded safe legal pollution levels. His plan to cut air pollution includes extending the ultra-low emission zone beyond central London to the North and South Circular roads from 2019. Drivers would not pay both the ULEZ and the new £10 charge and the latter will not apply to taxis. Other suggestions for tackling the problem include a national diesel scrappage scheme, which the government would have to implement. Paying owners to scrap their their cars is supported by some MPs but other groups argue the money would be better spent supporting public transport and cycling and walking. This week, Guardian Cities is investigating one of the worst preventable causes of death around the world: air pollution. Explore our coverage at The Air We Breathe


News Article | March 2, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Industrial battery suppliers, Blue Box Batteries are delighted to announce that they have become approved suppliers to the rail industry, including Network Rail. This is a major milestone for the company, one of the UK’s leading power solutions experts. Blue Box Batteries have passed the RISQS rail verified supplier scheme (http://www.risqs.org) to become an approved supplier into the rail sector. Martin Barron, Director at Blue Box Batteries, commented: “RISQS Accreditation is a huge accolade and demonstrates how we keep moving forward. 2017 is already shaping up to be our most successful year so far. “We have expanded consistently since the business was founded and RISQS provides further credibility to back our ambitions for increased visibility in the rail sector.” He added: “Blue Box Batteries constantly aim to meet customer demand and this accreditation underscores our commitment to providing the UK rail industry with high quality products. It is the latest evidence of our drive for excellence.” Blue Box Batteries are suppliers of industrial battery solutions from manufacturers such as Enersys, Alcad Exide GNB, Sonnenschein, Fiamm and Yuasa. The company is renowned for expert knowledge of standby power applications, responsive customer service and competitive pricing. It offers a range of ancillary services including safe and legal disposal of expired batteries. The Railway Industry Supplier Qualification Scheme (RISQS) is the supplier pre-qualification service used across the UK rail industry by buyers of products and services. RISQS supports Network Rail, LUL/Transport for London, rolling stock organisations, light rail and freight train operators, main infrastructure contractors and other providers in managing supply chain risk. RISQS is an independent, third-party verification. The assessment evaluated Blue Box Batteries’ processes and practices relevant to the rail industry, as well as broader areas such as Quality Management, Health and Safety, Environmental Practices, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Ethics and Compliance. Blue Box Batteries are specialist providers of battery power solutions, designed for a wealth of commercial and domestic applications. With a broad range of products and an expert support team, the company is a trusted distributor in the battery market. Head office is located at Forum 3, Solent Business Park, Whiteley, Fareham. To find out more about products for the rail sector, please visit: http://www.blueboxbatteries.co.uk/


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

How can we connect solar photovoltaics (PV) directly to railways to power electric trains? That’s the question my charity 10:10 and researchers at Imperial College’s Energy Futures Lab are trying to answer. Electric trains are by far the best long distance transport mode when it comes to carbon emissions – at least when their electricity comes from renewable sources like solar or wind. But the UK’s ageing power network poses a significant challenges to any bid to decarbonise road and rail that relies on the grid. There are now swathes of the British countryside where it is impossible to plug in any new solar, wind or hydropower without being hit with a whopping bill for the full costs of local network reinforcement. Faced with this constraint, and squeezed by government subsidy cuts, UK solar developers have started to focus on ways to generate power directly for consumption, rather than exporting it to the grid. With the right customers, solar developers can offer lower tariffs than the grid, while still earning more for their power than they would get from exporting it. Solar giant Lightsource, for example, recently signed a 25 year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Belfast airport that underwrote a neighbouring £5m solar farm, using a private wire to supply a quarter of the airport’s electricity needs. As an industrial client with high on-site daytime energy use and a structural reason to stay put, Network Rail has all of the features needed to support this kind of approach. The UK’s electrified rail routes have all of the features needed to support this kind of PPA-based renewable development, and more. Network Rail is the UK’s single largest electricity consumer, with internal decarbonisation targets and a strong incentive to reduce operational energy costs. Alongside Transport for London (London’s largest electricity consumer), these companies spend around £500m every year on traction power for their trains. There are already over 5,500km of electrified tracks in the UK, with a major electrification programme building or converting hundreds more over the coming decades. Early indications suggest it should be possible to connect virtually anywhere on the approximately one-third of this network that uses the direct current (DC) traction power system, unlocking access to thousands of potential new sites that have previously been out of bounds to new renewables. What’s more, the universe apparently wants this to happen: the standard operating voltage of the third and fourth rail DC routes is 630v-750v, while the standard output voltage of a solar PV array tends to be between 600v and 800v. This serendipity makes the engineering challenge of connecting the two look very manageable, and the likely cost of the power interface equipment competitive with typical grid connection costs. Conversion of renewable DC to grid alternating current (AC) results in something like 3% of the electricity being wasted, so supplying DC power direct to trains saves that loss too. Some of these DC routes already suffer from “under-powering”, meaning train operators cannot add more passenger capacity to these routes because the grid cannot supply the extra electricity needed to power the trains. At scale, our innovation could solve this problem as well. While our project has been driven by the UK context, direct connection of solar to railways will be a world first that has far wider potential application. Globally, most city metros around the world run on rail systems at 750V. If connection to AC overhead lines also proves viable through our work, then the market potential goes well beyond city metros. For instance, analysts have identified inadequate distribution and transmission infrastructure as a key obstacle to realising India’s aggressive target of 100GW of solar PV capacity by 2022. But India already has over 25,000km of electrified tracks, and an electrification target of 2,000km of new tracks every year. If our innovation means India can power its railways directly with trackside solar then we will have made a huge contribution to the global project to keep fossil fuels in the ground. In the UK, if our feasibility study proves successful, the next step will be to prove the concept with a handful of real-world pilot projects. For this, we’re working with members of the Community Energy South umbrella group of renewable energy co-operatives to identify promising sites where they could install a megawatt or two of trackside solar. Our vision here is to bring local people, commuters and rail employees together to crowdfund investment in these pioneering projects, sharing the financial rewards of progress in the low carbon transition as widely as possible. Sign up to be a Guardian Sustainable Business member and get more stories like this direct to your inbox every week. You can also follow us on Twitter.


News Article | February 23, 2017
Site: motherboard.vice.com

Once the domain for athletes and fitness freaks, activity-tracking wearables are making their way into the workforce, specifically the construction industry. Work wearables are "driving safety, productivity and decision-making on today's construction jobsites," according to Marla McIntyre, editor of Construction Executive Tech Trends. These wearables for construction workers are going to further infiltrate the construction industry next year, as they help report workplace safety and increase employee productivity. "Data from wearables can tell a manager if a worker has fallen, has an accelerated heartbeat, or is in a restricted area as well as how productive that worker is," said McIntyre. "At the same time, a manager can tell if productivity is lagging and find out the cause." According to market analysis group CCS Insight, the wearables tech industry is estimated to be worth $34 billion by 2020 and much of those these wearables will be used on the job. A construction company could be fined less or have fewer complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with wearables onsite. They can also have lower insurance rates and help employee health and safety. "Cost may be a factor, but as more contractors use wearable technologies on the jobsite, the prices will come down," said McIntyre. To measure the movements of workers, the Australian wearable company dorsaVi analyzes workers' movements with muscle activity sensors with the ViSafe, a workplace wearable which tracks how people move in real-time work situations with wireless, adhesive electrodes. The goal is to pinpoint the riskiest areas of repetitive movement that leads to injuries with data and then create solutions for a safer work environment. For example, Transport for London, which manages London's public transportation system, has its emergency response workers fitted with the ViSafe (which made its debut in the US this January with the Memphis-based Connect Healthcare Collaboration) to track muscle activity and movements with wearable sensors. "With work-related injuries costing $250 billion each year, we believe that US employers have an incredible prevention tool now available to them through this FDA-approved product," said Sally Pace, co-founder of Connect Healthcare Collaboration, who said her company is going to be rolling ViSafe out to other clients throughout the US in the coming months. "It acts like a red flag: Is this task avoidable, can we do it a different way or with a different piece of equipment?" asks Sean Watters, the emergency response unit manager of the London Underground. "But until we have that data, how can we make those decisions?" But it isn't all electrodes, some construction wearables include a growing number of smart glasses on the market, like the XOEye Smart Glasses, which are wirelessly connected to communicate with other workers on the team, and the Microsoft HoloLens, augmented reality goggles which allow one to interact with digital holograms—be it blueprints or full-sized 3D characters—while still to capturing your current environment. The developer edition of HoloLens is currently $3,000 but there have been no announcements for retail availability. They've also partnered with Volvo to help customers through the selection process of buying a new car. "We can show features, colors and options, so instead of seeing thing on a computer, you can be a part of the experience," said Nina Larsen, director of marketing at VOLVO. Likely to take off even more so are smart clothing pieces like the Redpoint Safety Vests, which are fluorescent yellow vests that locate workers in dangerous or hard-to-get-to locations. The vests are tracked on a map that can be viewed on a mobile app, and as soon as a worker enters a danger zone, their vest automatically flashes LED lights so other workers can spot them and quickly get them out. Another vest that is in its early stages is the prototype created by Melbourne-based researcher Dr. Ruwini Edirisinghe, who is working on a new smart vest that can help detect a construction worker's heat stroke, as it has sensors that measure body temperature and heart rate. While safety vests and activity trackers are more common on job sites, smart hardhats are not. "They need to be durable enough to withstand the rigors of the jobsite and offer protection as well as be cost effective," said McIntyre. "I believe the DAQRI Smart Helmet will be used on more jobsites in 2017." The augmented reality helmet digitally projects a worker's instructions on a clear plastic visor that pulls down in front of their forehead. It shows things like the temperature inside of a water boiler as you stand before it, or the electricity on a construction site before it's actually installed. It also has a navigation camera, can record video and take photos. "Onsite field workers or service contractors can take advantage of the technology to show a problem to someone in the office," said McIntyre. But the main issue is to keep workers working, as well as respond to the needs of millennials. "As younger workers enter the construction industry, they will demand more use of technologies available," she said. "The construction industry needs more workers and the wearable technologies can keep older workers on the job longer."


News Article | March 2, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

The use of self-employed drivers and pressure to make on-time deliveries are risks to road safety, warn cycling and road safety campaigners. The growth in online shopping and home delivery helped push van traffic in the UK to a new peak in 2016. However, vehicles most used by online delivery drivers, those under 3.5 tonnes, are not subject to the operator licence regulations that apply to larger vehicles, and anyone with a standard driving licence can drive them. Giving evidence to MPs on Tuesday, Siwan Hayward, deputy director of enforcement and on-street operations at Transport for London, admitted that for anyone who drives non HGVs for work, there are not sufficient standards for vehicle safety and driving hours. Campaigners say reported issues involving the delivery companies FedEx and CitySprint illustrate their road safety concerns. Last August, a FedEx driver was implicated in a road traffic incident with a cyclist. After the cyclist contacted the company, a FedEx director accidentally forwarded an internal email in which staff decided not to answer any of his safety procedure questions because he wasn’t considered “high engagement” enough. The safety incident was the second in a week. It came after a FedEx driver was filmed driving on the wrong side of the road, apparently asleep at the wheel. In its corporate brochure FedEx states its support for the road safety initiative Safe Kids Worldwide, yet in the email conversation staff discuss how to tackle what Trevor Hoyle, senior vice president of northern Europe operations, describes as “social media incidents”, rather than safety breaches. The company did not respond to the cyclist’s specific questions, including what driver training was provided. On request, it sent a statement to the Guardian saying the driver had been dismissed following an internal investigation, which identified him as a subcontractor engaged by FedEx. “Road safety is a critical public concern which FedEx takes extremely seriously,” it added in the statement. “FedEx has zero tolerance for such unacceptable conduct and we expect anyone who works for the company to comply fully with all traffic laws and regulations to ensure our roadways are safe.” Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s road safety and legal campaigns officer, said the concern was not about staff being disciplined but whether they were trained to help avoid future safety breaches. “Just dismissing such concerns and hoping they will simply ‘go away’ is to disregard corporate responsibility,” he said. When asked what it was doing, beyond disciplining staff, to avoid a repeat of the two incidents, FedEx directed the Guardian to a page on its website, which referred to “proactive, safety-focused workplace education” and investment in safety equipment and safety standards. Dollimore believes employers who operate and manage vans should adopt an approach similar to heavy goods vehicles operators, who are subject to operator licence regulations, as well as voluntary schemes like FORS (Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme). One self-employed CitySprint driver, who spoke to the Guardian anonymously, says he doesn’t make enough to pay for regular servicing and maintenance of his vehicle, while the CitySprint livery on his van means he can’t get work for other companies. A company is not obliged to train drivers classed as self-employed and, if it does, it risks reclassification by HMRC as an employer, and liability for holiday and sickness pay. “The thing about safety, it’s not about your ability to handle a vehicle, not if we are talking about a van,” said David Davies, executive director of the charity PACTS, the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety. “It’s more about your state of mind, the pressure you are under, your professional attitude and those are things that are quite difficult to train; they are part of the company culture. I think it’s more important that companies actively manage the safety of their drivers,” he added. Jay Parmar of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, which leases and maintains around one in six vans on UK roads, says many operators use the MOT as a diagnostic tool, do the minimum to pass and undertake little to no maintenance for the next year even though a working van can travel 20,000 miles in that time. CitySprint says it offers automated MOT checks for fleet vehicles, online and at 41 service centres. If completed online by their self-employed couriers, at least one of these each year must be completed in a service centre. It also says it runs service vehicle checks every three months, examining roadworthiness and fuel efficiency. Campaigners argue the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) needs to start investigating and prosecuting cases of employer negligence. But the HSE denies it has any responsibility for incidents on public roads and says the police or Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, since renamed the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), are responsible. Davies said: “[Police] won’t think: was this guy tired, was he under unrealistic pressures to make delivery slots? If the police refer it to the HSE, they might investigate but they are very unlikely to investigate in a proactive way.” Dollimore says the DVSA deals mainly with tachograph offences. There is, he says, a gaping hole in tackling corporate road safety failures. CitySprint said all its couriers are self-employed, can work as little or often as they like, and are free to turn down work. It says it pays some of the best rates in the industry and tries to maximise driver earnings using smart technology. Sign up to be a Guardian Sustainable Business member and get more stories like this direct to your inbox every week. You can also follow us on Twitter.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Collaborative Research & Development | Award Amount: 2.18M | Year: 2012

GyroDrive is a game changing hybrid concept for City bus and HGV applications. Despite significant pressure to reduce emissions and improve fuel consumption, the commercial uptake of hybrid buses has been low due the high system cost. Additionally, with a life of up to 20 years, there will be a significant number of diesel buses in service for the forseeable future. The GyrdoDrive consortium will build and prove a novel hybrid system, incorporating an electrically driven flywheel. The system will be less than half the weight of a current hybrid system, and will be small enough to retro fit to an existing bus with no loss of interior space. The system will be developed by Williams Hybrid Power, GKN, and GKN-Evo, with Go Ahead group performing a fleet trial on a number of different bus types to validate the system performance. The consortium expect fuel savings of up to 25%, and expect the system price in production to have a payback period of less than 5 years


News Article | February 28, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

A plan to force London minicab drivers to pass written English tests would put nearly a third of them out of business, the ride-hailing app Uber has argued. In a high court battle with Transport for London, lawyers for Uber said the transport body’s estimates suggest 33,000 drivers would either fail the test or be deterred from trying to renew their licence. TfL, which licenses nearly 118,000 minicab drivers, wants all applicants for a new, or renewed, private hire licence to pass the test by 30 September. The test, which involves writing a short essay, would not apply to black cab drivers. Uber said it supports verbal tests but warned an added written exam meant that 33,000 drivers, 28% of those who currently hold a licence would lose their livelihood over three years. Thomas de la Mare QC, representing Uber, said this was based on TfL’s assumption that 40% of people taking the test would fail it. He told the hearing on Tuesday the requirement was “manifestly disproportionate” and would unfairly penalise drivers who had sufficient English to pass their driving test and read road signs but not to pass a written exam. He said the lack of complaints about Uber drivers’ written English meant the issue was “the dog that did not bark”. In a statement, TfL said: “The changes to regulation of the private hire industry being challenged in this case are vital, to ensure passenger safety and to raise standards. We continue to robustly defend this claim.” TfL originally wanted to apply the test only to people from countries where English is not the primary language but this was blocked in court as discriminatory. • This article was amended on 7 March 2017 to correct the number of days in September.

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