Highlights, Hubs & Haggis -SURFLOGH hits Edinburgh

29 September 2022 - Published by Deirdre Buist
The SURFLOGH partners most recent meeting was held in Edinburgh on 13th – 15th September. Our hosts and colleagues from SEStran organized a diverse and interactive programme, with some inspiring highlights, hubs and, of course, a taste of haggis. Even the weather was perfect!

Day 1 was dedicated to a Transnational Open Innovation Lab whereby the concept of observation, previously developed at an earlier meeting in Groningen, was re-introduced. SURFLOGH took to the streets. The eyes of a stranger see more and, during the course of their expedition, partners spotted bottlenecks, bad crossings,  beauty spots and broad walkways in the city centre.

Adapting spatial design

Results and suggestions were subsequently presented per group and included some exciting, new ideas in terms of improving and adapting the spatial design to create a more sustainable, healthier living environment. For example, a relatively easy solution to implement involved redesigning the broad side streets off the main traffic arteries and planting trees and shrubbery.


Super Blocks Model

Edinburgh is spatially quite robust, offering opportunities for an alternative logistics plan. The current traffic flows prioritize public transport, freight and services. Traffic lights and crossings do not favour people walking. However, the Super Blocks Model, introduced by the delegates from Groningen, was received enthusiastically. It offered a different perspective - certainly in combination with a suggested street plan that left much more space for cyclists and pedestrians.

The Zedify delivery hub 

On Day 2 the partners visited the Zedify delivery hub (Zero emission, sustainable, cargo bike couriers in Edinburgh) which has been developing in close collaboration with SEstran and Napier TRI under the SURFLOGH flag.  The hub, located at the outskirts but within walking distance of the city’s main streets, now has a team of enthusiastic cargo-bike deliverers.


A zero-emission future

Spokesman Charlie Mullholland talks passionately about the growth of this hub and its ‘twin’ in Glasgow. “Zedify stands for a zero emission, reliable and cost effective delivery service, offering businesses in the Scottish capital the opportunity to switch to cleaner delivery alternatives. Many of the  challenges we face are similar to other countries – traffic congestion, air pollution,  creating a viable business case for first-mile and/or last mile deliveries. But then… we also have the hills! We believe what we’re doing really contributes to a cleaner environment and hopefully  a better future for our kids.”


Show and tell with Charlie Mulholland at the Zedify hub

Knowledge exchange - The Edinburgh TRAM Project 

In the afternoon, the group was joined by Hannah Ross from the City of Edinburgh Council who shared her experience and knowledge gained within the context of the Edinburgh TRAM project. The creative and adaptive solutions for temporary delivery hubs in busy streets under construction inspired the SURFLOGH partners and resulted in an energetic exchange of ideas and expertise.

More pilots in the make

During the  last leg of this transnational meeting,  the obligatory project management admin was discussed and we learned that, besides the continuation, expansion and reporting on current pilots, there are more exciting and innovative sustainable logistics solutions in the make. These include a trial with lockers for perishable goods, a feasibility study for drone delivery services, autonomous logistics and more. Jonathan Cowie from Napier University also presented the latest updates on his business models research, followed by further exchange and discussion with project partners and participants.


Watch this space for more  pilot updates. You can also follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter