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Best Urban Freight Solutions

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport sectors
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

BESTUFS was a coordination activity to encourage the cooperation between domain experts, research institutions, urban transport operators and city administrations in order to identify and disseminate the Urban Freight Solutions (UFS) which are considered as best practices within Europe.

New UFS are attracting more and more attention because of the following main three reasons:

  • First, due to the fact that the installed urban goods transport procedures negatively affect the quality of life in cities;
  • Second, because structural changes take place in urban areas both from the city infrastructure and policy point of view (for instance pedestrian and parking zones) but also from a commercial viewpoint (e.g. shopping malls and emerging e-commerce);
  • Third, because technology related innovations (e.g. low emission vehicles, small containers, less expensive transhipment, or EDI) are swiflty entering the market and are becoming competitive in price compared to the established technologies.

The concept of public/private partnerships was introduced in order to establish improved urban goods transport solutions. These partnerships were sometimes successful but also often failed, because the willingness alone does not directly lead to a solution.

The direction towards a 'best urban freight solution' must be given in order to turn public/private partnerships into a successful co-operation.


BESTUFS aimed to identify and disseminate best practices with respect to urban freight transport. The concept of a thematic network aimed at the co-operation of experts and projects with already existing or just emerging experiences and expertise and at the collection and analysis of existing project results of national and European projects - rather than starting new research activities.

The main objectives of BESTUFS were:

  • to establish and maintain an open European network between urban freight transport experts, user groups/associations, ongoing projects, interested cities, the relevant European Commission Directorates, system/technology providers and representatives of national transport administrations; the network focusses on the movement of goods in urban areas,
  • to create a permanent and dynamic concertation activity during the period of the 5th Framework Programme,
  • to identify and structure the various themes which build the UFS domain and which have relations and influence to it; to present projects and best practices in view of this scheme,
  • to support the clustering of projects on European level and to integrate projects and clusters into the network,
  • to collect, compare and summarise available experiences and results of projects and initiatives in the UFS domain mainly of Europe but also - if easily obtainable - of the USA and other countries,
  • to identify and describe best practices and success criteria within the UFS domain,
  • to disseminate experiences, project relations, best practices and success criteria to a broad public of interested actors, thereby aiming at the transferability of solutions,
  • to establish links and co-operations with other relevant thematic networks (treating different themes) on European level in order to share and integrate the results (regarding overlapping themes) and to avoid duplication of work,
  • to establish links and co-operation with national thematic networks (treating the UFS domain) in order to share and integrate results and
  • to support the co-operation between actors in the UFS domain by providing information and by providing contacts.

The general idea behind the thematic networks was to encourage the co-operation between domain experts, research institutions and further interest groups on a European level.


The approach for setting up the BESTUFS thematic network on best urban freight solutions was to establish a platform that would be a focal point for activities with various links to the urban freight domain.

BESTUFS consisted of four main work packages:

  • Network co-ordination (WP 1); responsible for the network communication, the management of the Network Steering Committee (NSC), the clustering process and the thematic focussing.
  • Collection, analysis and working up of project results, expertise and best practices (WP 2); carrying out the collection of information related to strategies, concepts, projects and initiatives takes place on an European and national level.
  • Administrative and organisational support (WP 3); to set up and to organise meetings (workshops/cluster meetings), to collect and to produce discussion and position papers and to handle internal and external enquiries.
  • Dissemination (WP 4); being responsible for all dissemination activities including an online dissemination platform, project newsletters and clustering reports.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN)
Type of funding
Public (EU)


It was the role of BESTUFS to act as a facilitator in order to ensure that excellent solutions and best practices on urban freight transport are not lost to the remainder of the European Community, the freight community and cities themselves.

Overall, 12 BESTUFS workshops were organised during the project lifetime addressing 10 themes:

  • City access, parking regulations and access, access time restrictions and enforcement support.
  • Optimised city distribution vehicles as demanded by transport operators and cities.
  • Changing urban transport due to E-commerce and E-logistic.
  • Rail based transport: A disappearing opportunity or a challenge for urban areas?
  • City access fees and urban pricing: What are the consequences for urban freight transport?
  • Land use planning and business models for urban distribution centres.
  • Public Private Partnership (PPP) enhancing urban goods transport.
  • Night delivery: a further option in urban distribution.
  • ITS in urban transport.
  • Urban freight strategies: Laissez-faire or following a comprehensive strategy.

In addition to the BESTUFS workshops four conferences were carried out.

  1. The first BESTUFS conference took place on 29/30 March 2001 in Barcelona.
  2. The second conference took place on June 2002 in Paris.
  3. The third conference took place on May 2003 in Copenhagen.
  4. And the final BESTUFS conference took place on 13/14 November 2003 in Prague.

On average 75% of the participants assessed the workshops as good to excellent! To identify and assess best practice examples seven material collections were carried out covering the EU Member States and since 2003 also the NAS countries.

Policy implications

BESTUFS' specific policy recommendations were provided for each year, related to the priority themes treated.

For the last year a comprehensive report was produced bringing all policy recommendations for further activities together into one report D 1.4.

The deliverable can be downloaded from the BESTUFS website


Key findings

The outcome of BESTUFS thematic network is a Best Practice Handbook which provides information and tips about innovative ongoing strategies, concepts and activities in European countries. It provides knowledge and experiences of completed and running projects and actions and describing the results as experiences rather than as a thorough scientific analysis. The results of the city inquiry have provided a good overview of the current problems and issues dealing with goods movements in urban areas and urban freight transport planning in city administrations.

The main results can be summarised as follows:

  • Most of the European cities that were asked have problems concerning urban freight transport which affect the attractiveness and quality of life of the city; main problems are related to suitable infrastructure for deliveries, city access, noise and pollution.
  • For most of the cities the important issues concerning urban freight are; dealing with co-operation among all local actors, coordinated urban freight policy, information, statistical data/data acquisition and use of innovative vehicle technology for city distribution.
  • The project compared the existing problems and issues to be dealt with in urban freight transport planning, there is insufficient or no manpower (compared to passenger transport) within the city administration to take care of urban freight issues. Urban freight transport planning is neglected in many cities compared to passenger transport.
  • Generally there is a lack of statistics and data concerning urban freight transport: the data availability, a very important basis for evaluation of suitable measures, is poor if compared to passenger transport.

Policy implications

BESTUFS is designed to provide a mechanism for the exchange of ideas, initiatives and experiences between key players involved in urban freight issues including commercial interests, policy makers, administrators and city planners. The use of workshops as a mechanism to explore ideas, proposals and experience and best practice in specific


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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