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City Logistics in Living Laboratories

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CITYLAB (City Logistics in Living Laboratories)

Reporting period: 2016-11-01 to 2018-04-30

An environmentally and financially sustainable urban freight transport system is a prerequisite for liveable cities. However, goods, waste and service trips in urban areas do impose negative traffic and environmental impacts and take place in space shared with many other actors. The EC target of essentially CO2-free city logistics in urban centres by 2030 requires considerable work in identifying the right combination of sustainable and cost-efficient measures that will most effectively reduce freight related emissions and congestion in cities.

The objective of CITYLAB was to develop knowledge and solutions that result in roll-out, up-scaling and further implementation of cost effective strategies, measures and tools for emission free city logistics in urban centres by 2030. CITYLAB supported cities working for improved sustainability and liveability and private companies developing new services and business models for improved sustainability and profitability of their logistic activities. This support was embodied in Living Laboratories (Living Labs) where promising solutions were tested with the involvement of multiple stakeholders. For this purpose, CITYLAB identified seven European cities: Brussels, London, Oslo, Paris, Rome, Rotterdam and Southampton that embodied the living labs. The project focused on four axes that call for improvement and intervention due to their importance: i) Highly fragmented last-mile deliveries in city centres; ii) Inefficient deliveries to large freight attractors and public administrations; iii) Urban waste, return trips and recycling; and iv) Logistics sprawl.

The creation of Living Labs in city logistics provides a new way to develop and address different trends and challenges. It supports an action driven cooperation forms fostering innovation deployment and improving communication and cooperation between stakeholders. In conclusion, we find that the path towards zero-emission logistics operations in major urban centres by 2030 requires a combination of measures. The total demand for freight transport must be reduced, logistics must be made more efficient to increase load factors and reduce the vehicle movements, and a shift to low- and zero-emission vehicles must be supported. We estimate that logistics improvements may contribute to emission reductions only around 10% in urban areas. This means that these improvements themselves cannot solve the emission challenges, there is also a need to increase the use of zero emission vehicles. What is key, however, is that many of the logistical improvements also act as facilitators for the introduction of zero emission vehicles on top of their direct contributions to emission savings.

There are many obstacles and challenges preventing change. There is not necessarily a lack of knowledge about measures that may contribute to more sustainable and efficient operations, but more often a lack of focus and priority in the public sector. It is therefore a need to set up regimes and an environment in urban areas that supports sustainable urban logistics operations: i) to have clear goals and a plan for reaching them; ii) make sure that data are in place to understand the current situation and analyse changes; and iii) having appropriate public-private collaboration mechanisms for definition and realisation of innovative solutions.
The project has contributed in several directions:
I. Living lab methodology and practice
The creation of living labs in city logistics provides a new way to develop and address different trends and challenges. It supports an action driven cooperation form fostering innovation deployment and improving communication and cooperation between stakeholders. Development of a shared vision, aligning individual interests to common goals and active involvement of the end-users as well as other competencies in the co-creation process helps to develop innovative solutions that are more user-friendly, more financially sustainable and adapted/tested within a real world environment. CITYLAB has developed a handbook with guidance on how to get started for those wanting to develop future city logistics living labs.

II. Implementation actions, data collection and evaluation
CITYLAB supported seven implementations aiming at reducing the negative impacts of freight and service trips. Data have been collected and the implementations have been evaluated.

III. Knowledge generation and synthesis
The project contributed to synthesising and generating urban freight knowledge. This includes an Observatory of Strategic Developments Impacting Urban Logistics. The project also contributed to identifying the challenges that need to be addressed and overcome by the private and public sectors by the private and public sectors in ensuring the successful uptake and outcome of urban freight initiatives, and have increased the understanding of expected effects of measures.

IV. Dissemination and facilitation of transfer
When reaching out to stakeholders, a follower group of 21 cities and regions was established. From this group, based on commitment and interest, a more limited set of 9 transfer cities and regions were selected. Several specific actions have followed from the involvement of transfer cities and regions. A dedicated task was also set to promote business-targeted dissemination. The task leader from the industry used its marketing experience to summarise the insights obtained from the living labs and their implementations, using simple tools and formats tailored to the industry
The knowledge and solutions generated in CITYLAB are expected to increase efficiency and load factors of freight trips in urban areas, and to reduce the negative impacts of freight activities in combination with achieving more sustainable business models for urban freight operations.

Several ex post EU and global level evaluations have shown that multi-stakeholder deployment is the key challenge in the city logistics innovation process. In CITYLAB, we use Living Labs, which is new in city logistics, as an implementation approach to successful fostering innovation deployment. The concept of Living Labs, compared to conventional demonstrations, creates an experiential environment in which stakeholders such as citizens, governments, industry and research, together aim at achieving a shared long-term goal. Thus, reducing conflicting interests, speeding up real-life developments and deployment of innovations. In this environment stakeholders, can co-design, explore, experience and refine new policies, regulations and logistics actions. This implies a process in which implementations are tried out, supported by dynamic prediction and evaluation tools, and the environment is adapted to make it work. Within this process barriers are directly dealt with to have a maximum impact. It is in this framework the CITYLAB implementations operate, supporting the aim to establish city logistics living labs.

The collaborative environment achieved from planning, implementing and evaluating the real-life CITYLAB implementations is a major leap forward from the traditional city logistics initiatives, where demonstrations aim to “prove” the functionality of a solution within a limited and temporary organisation. Because the Living Lab approach focus more on the city environment, CITYLAB achieves more than demonstrating the feasibility of a short-term test pilot, it also allows absorption by the city.