Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Accommodating urban freight deliveries

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 to disseminate urban freight solutions (UFS) which are considered as best practices within Europe.

New UFS are attracting more and more attention because of mainly three reasons:

- First, due to the fact that the installed urban goods transport procedures are negatively affecting the quality of live in cities.
- Second, because structural changes take place in urban areas both from the city infrastructure and policy point of view (e.g. pedestrian and parking zones) but also from the 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 entering fast in 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 failed often, because the willingness alone leads not directly to a solution. The direction towards a 'best urban freight solution' must be given in order to turn the public-private partnership into a successful cooperation.

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 life time 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-logistics
- 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. 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. For identifying and assessing best practice examples seven material collections were carried out covering the EU member states. 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, which can be downloaded from the Bestufs website:

Freight: Key findings

The outcome of Bestufs thematic network is a best practice handbook which aims at giving information and hints about innovative ongoing strategies, concepts and activities in European countries, providing 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 on the current problems and issues dealing with the goods movements in urban areas and the urban freight transport planning in city administrations.

The main results can be summarised as follows:

- Most of the asked European cities 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 cooperation among all local actors, coordinated urban freight policy, information, statistical data/data acquisition and use of innovative vehicle technology for city distribution.
- Compared the existing problems and issues to be dealt with in urban freight transport planning there is no or not enough manpower (compared to passenger transport) within the city administration who takes care about 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 was designed to provide a mechanism for the exchange of ideas, initiatives and experience 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 areas is seen as a particularly useful means to achieve these objectives.

To this purpose, Bestufs established an open European network between the key players and interest groups in urban freight issues as:

- the commercial interest groups (shippers, receivers and transport service providers);
- city administrations and policy enforcement agencies;
- civic interest groups;
- individuals;
- user groups;
- relevant national and European level directorates for city planning, transport facilities and services;
- relevant systems and technology providers.

Efficiency: Key findings

- Not all of the cities are aware of the ongoing changes in logistics and city distribution (i.e. e-commerce, ITS) and know about new operational and technical possibilities (traffic management, enforcement support, etc.) to improve the situation.
- Half of the cities meet regularly transport actors. These contacts are crucial to solve the existing problems with solutions which have a high acceptance; therefore, the cities should intensify these activities.

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