Traffic and traffic congestion is a major cause of pollution in European cities. It produces noxious gas emissions, generates high levels of noise and consumes large amounts of energy. These factors can impact negatively on the natural environment as well as the historical and artistic heritage of the urban spaces and citizens’ quality of life.
Many European cities have carried out measures to tackle traffic congestion, including restricting access to city centres and developing urban public transport networks. However, little attention has been paid to the urban goods distribution process, which is one of the major contributors to traffic congestion. Efficient and sustainable urban freight management has become one of the priorities of European sustainable transport policy.
Though a number of feasibility and pre-feasibility studies on sustainable urban freight management exist in Italy, these have rarely been supported by actions. At the start of the project, there were just a few existing initiatives in Italy - in Vicenza, Padova, Ferrara, and Parma - and all in their preliminary phase.
The C-DISPATCH project aimed to develop a sustainable business model for increasing the efficiency of door-to-door goods transport in the urban area of Frosinone. This, in turn, would achieve the ultimate objective of reducing the flow of commercial traffic and consequent noise and air pollution.
The specific objectives of the project included the:
- Implementation of an effective, integrated urban logistic system. This would provide an up-to-the-minute supply and demand-side information to enable efficient urban delivery planning;
- Creation of an independent ‘City Logistic Agency’ for integrated control of sustainable production and transport processes in Frosinone;
- Creation of a toolbox for system implementation and management;
- Development of standards for IT solutions for environmental monitoring and evaluation and
- Creation of a communication network at local, national and international level.
The project specifically aimed to:
- reduce commercial vehicle traffic flow by 14%, resulting in a decrease of about 10% of their gas emissions;
- reduce noise emissions by 30%;
- measure estimated quality of life increases through ex-ante and ex-post surveys of citizens living in the pilot area.
The C-DISPATCH project successfully developed a unique and coordinated service for goods delivery to shopkeepers in a pilot area. This complete and self-sustainable city logistic system was achieved through the active and positive cooperation of all stakeholders.
Key achievements of the project included:
- Creation of an easily replicable toolbox to support the implementation and management of the environmentally, socially and economically sustainable system
- Optimisation of the delivery of goods to shopkeepers in the pilot area;
- Reduction of total traffic for goods delivery by about 14%;
- Reduction of noise pollution, associated to traffic, by about 30%.
Tools were also developed for environmental monitoring and the beneficiary calculated that CO2 emissions decreased by 43% and PM10 emissions by 90%. However, these were mostly based on official emission values for each lorry category and the distances traveled and so can only be considered estimations. Overall, although environmental benefits can be expected from the project’s actions it is difficult at this stage to measure their specific impact.
The beneficiary developed contacts with other projects with similar aims - such as the LIFE project CEDM LIFE05 ENV/IT/000870 - and with structures and bodies implementing goods-delivery logistic systems. This was useful in incorporating learning into this project and spreading awareness of the project’s achievements.
The development of a local network has offered hope that other municipalities in the Province will take on the project’s system. Although an independent City Logistic Agency was not set up during the project, the Municipality of Frosinone has given its support to extending the service.
In addition dissemination activities also included: the creation of the C-DISPATCH press office, the creation of an interactive web site, organization of conferences at International and local level and workshops for technicians and operators. These dissemination activities were not only successful but they managed to inform the local community of the actions carried out by the C-DISPATCH.