Using data analytics for smart loading zones management in cities
Research Project , 2019 – 2020

Freight operations are crucial for supplying citizens with goods. Space reserved for loading or unloading bulk cargo, known as (un)loading zones (LZ), are open for use by any vehicle unloading goods. Unloading zones do not have parking meters and enforcement is irregular; city authorities have limited knowledge about LZ utilization which explains inefficiencies in their provision and management. Freight vehicles spend 40-80% of their operational time in LZ, and the lack of availability produces large impacts; when LZ are occupied, operators often drive around to find an available LZ. If they cannot find an available LZ, the driver may drive to the next customer or double park while delivering. Enhancing LZ management via smart devices and exploiting data analytics can bring significant benefits.

Implementing novel solutions in the design and management of LZ can lead to a smarter use of urban space for the public sector and to more sustainable logistics for freight companies. This feasibility study aims at connecting 5 different actors (a parking application provider with international experience in LZ management, urban freight strategists from the public sector, a transport and logistics company, a truck manufacturer and academia) to explore potential solutions for LZ data-driven management.


Expected Outcomes
Major goal is to understand how (un)loading zones are used; and how digitalization and analytics could improve effective management of these zones. The expected outcomes are:
§  Study the decisions and design factors required when planning and designing smart (un)loading zones (LZ).

§  Design the type of data and modeling analytics to support the LZ operations.

§  Develop statistical methods to estimate and forecast the demand for LZs.

§  Assess the benefits of smarter/connected LZ for urban freight vehicles operations.

§  Evaluate the feasibility of a pilot test with all stakeholders.

Stakeholder Involvement
The key stakeholders are transport operators, property companies that own the LZs, receivers (e.g., retailers, restaurants, offices), service providers such as mobile application developers, passengers including cyclists, and pedestrians, city authorities (freight planners and public sector). We plan to organize a workshop with all potential stakeholders.


Ivan Sanchez-Diaz (contact)

Associate Professor at Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Service Management and Logistics

Jorge Gil

Associate Professor at Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Urban Design and Planning

Balázs Adam Kulcsár

Professor at Chalmers, Electrical Engineering, Systems and control, Automatic Control

Lokesh Kumar Kalahasthi

Researcher at Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Service Management and Logistics


Bäckebols Åkeri

Bäckebol, Sweden


Barcelona, Spain

Scania CV AB

Södertälje, Sweden

Stockholms stad

Stockholm, Sweden

University of Gothenburg

Gothenburg, Sweden



Project ID: 2019-03093
Funding Chalmers participation during 2019–2020

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