In order to promote and manage innovative urban freight transport solutions, public authorities should be able to forecast the related economic sustainability and their environmental and societal benefits.
Existing studies on urban freight transport issues allowed the creation of an extensive knowledge of good practices in urban logistics. However, this knowledge remained relatively fragmented and scattered. As a result, designing and implementing relevant solutions for urban logistics remained a rather complex task for policy makers, especially when it comes to forecast the economic viability, as well as environmental and societal benefits of the different scenarios to be taken into account.
The ANNONA project intended to provide decision-makers with the means to assess a-priori urban logistics improvement policies via an IT tool based on a geographic information system (GIS).
The ANNONA project tackled the issue of designing urban logistic patterns through the development of an IT tool used as a support to identify concrete solutions (urban freight delivery, vehicle fleet, regulations, etc.) that should be collectively promoted and implemented by different stakeholders involved in the management of the logistic sector (i.e. administrative level, chamber of commerce and industry, carriers, retailers, etc).
The project was structured around five main tasks:
- understanding of the urban system model
- identification and characterisation of innovative actions in city-logistic
- conception and realisation of the modelling tool
- validation / case studies
The first set of results concerned a representation of urban environment that include a wide range of data and information: stakeholders and users of freight transport, the flow of goods generated, transportation systems, infrastructure and road traffic. This integrated model was developed with a particular attention to the scale adopted and providing a high level of detail, so to give a very useful tool to facilitate decision-making process on detailed scenarios of urban logistics across the city centre.
The second set of results concerned the knowledge consolidation available on innovative actions in terms of urban freight transport, and the characterization of their effects and interactions with the economic, environmental and social sectors.
The third set of results was aimed to create a simulation model for designing and evaluating global logistics systems at the scale of a city centre.
More details available on the project website https://annonaproject.wordpress.com/ (authorisation needed)
From the economic point of view, the ability to anticipate the impact of urban logistics plans can be a development track for logistics professionals, who are struggling to find viable economic models. Meanwhile, political pressure in terms of environmental concerns and social recovery, will continue to increase. Therefore, evaluation of externalities of urban freight transport and their integration in some decision-making process will be a major challenge both for local territories as for manufacturers.