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Greener, smarter urban freight

In recent years, with the growth of the global economy and open EU borders, increased trade and distribution of goods have brought with them more traffic and pollution in cities.

Industrial Technologies

The EU-funded SMARTFUSION (Smart urban freight solutions) project worked on reducing the increase in pollution and traffic caused by freight transport. Representing a dynamic public-private partnership, the project worked on strengthening the electric vehicle industry and buoying the automotive sector during these challenging economic times. Beyond research, the project improved current urban freight development strategies in three regions: Berlin (Germany), Lombardy (Italy) and Newcastle (United Kingdom). Developments included smart hybrid electric propulsion systems, battery-driven metering systems and intelligent routing/planning systems for freight deliveries. Through these demonstration regions, SMARTFUSION encouraged the introduction of new, sustainable vehicle technology. This involved trip planning software that interacts with vehicles, as well as comparisons between conventional and clean vehicles on the same routes and smart freight development tools for policymakers. The project also built a European network of industry stakeholders that includes academics, policymakers and industry experts who can jointly work towards achieving this vision. It deployed a monitoring and impact assessment system that identifies challenges and compares the current situation to the desired situation in the future, mapping out future actions. SMARTFUSION focused on developing solutions in low-emission technology, green planning/routing, urban logistics and freight policies for the regions it covered. It delivered new system architecture for clean urban logistics and developed a new concept for hybrid trucks similar to hybrid busses, which involves operating the trucks in two shifts for increased efficiency. The project’s systems and solutions, including electric and/or hybrid vehicles, were tested successfully and were proved viable, earning local and national awards. In parallel the project team explored relevant business models and business model frameworks to ensure commercial viability. These radically new solutions may represent the beginning of a paradigm shift for EU freight transport.


Urban freight, freight transport, traffic, pollution, SMARTFUSION

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2 October 2020