Urban areas represent particular challenges for freight transport, both in terms of logistical performance and environmental impact. A range of regulatory, technological and logistical measures have been applied, most of them suffering from a lack of systematic evaluation and assessment related to their short and long term effects, which impedes knowledge transfer and the adoption of best practice. As a consequence, large scale adaptations do often not come off, although many initiatives seemed successful in pilots and demonstrations. There is a clear need for a comprehensive approach to urban freight solutions, particularly linking urban to interurban freight movements.
The objectives of STRAIGHTSOL are threefold:
- Develop a new impact assessment framework for measures applied to urban-interurban freight transport interfaces;
- Support a set of innovative field demonstrations showcasing improved urban-interurban freight operations in Europe;
- Apply the impact assessment framework to the live demonstrations and develop specific recommendations for future freight policies and measures.
The demonstrations represent cutting edge initiatives from leading stakeholders like DHL, Kuehne+Nagel and TNT, and cover Brussels,Barcelona, Thessaloniki, Utrecht, Lisbon, Oslo and the south of England. STRAIGHTSOL will contribute to the Commissions research agenda through:
- an implementation of sustainable urban-interurban freight transport solutions;
- widely disseminating the experiences and effects from the demonstrations amongst the logistics community;
- demonstrating the added value of the evaluation tool framework for assessing last mile distribution and urban-interurban freight activities.
The STRAIGHTSOL demonstrations and deliverables will give policy makers and transport industry players input for future measures in the field of last mile distribution and urban-interurban freight transport interfaces at the European, country, region, city and local levels.
The impact assessment framework was applied to seven live demonstrations:
- urban consolidation centre in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat (Barcelona, ES) by DHL;
- city logistics mobile depot in Brussels (BE) by TNT Express;
- remote ‘bring-site’ monitoring near London (UK) by Oxfam
- rail tracking and warehouse management in Thessaloniki (GR) by Kuehne+Nagel;
- retail supply management and last mile distribution in Oslo (NO) by GS1 Norway;
- loading/unloading operations management and regulations in Lisbon (PT) by EMEL;
- night-time deliveries in Brussels (BE) by Colruyt and Delhaize.
Generally, through the STRAIGHTSOL demonstration analyses, it was shown that most of the tested concepts have very positive impact for the society as a whole, leading to a positive impact both for the citizens and the local authorities. We have seen that local authorities tend to focus on the criteria that they have in common with the citizens, considering their other criteria as less important. As a consequence, citizens and local authorities usually assess the different scenarios in the same way. These measures, however, tend to come at a price for the private partner that operates the demonstration and usually bears most of the costs. In none of the STRAIGHTSOL demonstrations new prices were negotiated between the various private stakeholders meaning that economic costs or benefits were not shared between them. They were also not compensated for the external benefits that were created (reduction or emissions, better road safety, improved urban accessibility). The evaluation confirmed that it is very difficult to implement sustainable city logistics concepts, because they appear to be financially unviable for the private stakeholder undertaking the initiative. Even if there are scaled variations that are financially viable, the solution requires adapted behaviour of the main stakeholder which also is a major barrier for roll-out. In the evaluation we have identified the trend that the scenarios that are supported by the citizens and the authorities are usually not supported by the operator, receivers or senders and vice versa.
Overall, the evaluations show that there is a big role to play by the (local) governments. All concepts are beneficial to society, especially when they are scaled. However, they appear to require too much initial investment of a private partner or cannot be operated in a profitable way. In that sense, the loca
The evaluation of the seven STRAIGHTSOL demonstrations has contributed to specific advice targeted towards companies interested in exploring solutions from the project (see also I. above) as well as municipalities with an aim to improve efficiency and reduce the negative impacts of urban freight transport. STRAIGHTSOL contributes to transferability and uptake of the demonstrated solutions with advice in terms of critical design factors, elaboration on possible ways to establish feasible business models, and guidance on how local authorities may promote sustainable urban freight transport solutions by supportive policies.
In the 2011 white paper on transport, one goal was to “achieve essentially CO2-free city logistics in major urban centres by 2030”, while the 2007 green paper ‘Towards a new culture for urban mobility’, highlighted the importance of the urban dimension of freight transport, and the need for efficient interfaces between long and short-distance freight transport.
The STRAIGHTSOL project was set to promote more sustainable and efficient urban logistics as well as improved interfaces between urban and interurban transport. The evaluation of the demonstrated solutions has shown that uptake and roll/out of these solutions will contribute to reduced negative impacts, in particular local and global emissions. Together the solutions cover significant transport volumes in urban areas, and the potential socio-economic impact of the project is considerable. In order to maximise the exploitation of the project results and the potential impact, the project has put significant efforts into different dissemination activities.