How local authorities can include freight in their transport planning process
Conference contribution, 2012
Local authorities are slowly beginning to acknowledge the need to consider freight transport in their policy decision making processes and, over the last decade research in the field of urban freight transport has increased. However, most studies to date consider specific urban freight solutions and measures, as opposed to ways in which local authorities perhaps ought to consider this issue in the transport planning and decision-making process. This paper intends to demonstrate that the urban transport policy decision making process could be improved by including a wider variety of freight stakeholders in urban transport planning discussions.
Interview data from Sweden, the UK and the Baltic Sea Region has been analysed to draw out the factors that influence local authorities and freight operator perceptions of urban freight transport issues. The relationships between local authorities and freight stakeholders are also discussed.
Findings and originality
The findings show that despite local authorities having begun to acknowledge freight transport more often, the issues faced by the freight industry are still not fully understood. This paper presents a comparison of countries in Northern Europe, focusing on how local authorities could and should consider these issues in the transport planning and decision-making process. It contradicts earlier research results that reveal differences in the ways that local authorities manage freight transport; and demonstrates that the problems faced by local authorities are not unique to one country or specific to one individual urban area. This research shows that in reality, many of the similarities and perceived problems are mirrored across urban areas in Northern Europe.
This paper aims to contribute to the growing body of urban freight research. The approach is qualitative and although it largely confirms earlier research that has identified there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to urban freight issues, and that perhaps more tailored solutions are required, it nevertheless finds a higher degree of similarities than have previously been reported. This creates a possibility to cluster urban areas based on the similarity of freight issues, thus complementing earlier clustering organised around statistical and geographical characteristics. The study also works towards the identification of a wider group of urban freight stakeholders that local authorities could consider for inclusion in the policy planning process.
This research is intended to persuade local authorities of the benefit of including freight stakeholders in the policy decision-making process by contributing to a better understanding on how best to approach urban freight stakeholders. It aims to demonstrate that including the freight industry and encouraging collaboration in urban transport policy decision-making can help to forge new and improved relationships between local authorities and the freight industry. The research attempts to encourage more meaningful discussions with key freight stakeholders at an early stage in policy formulation.
Transport policy planning