Urban freight transport sustainability – assessment and evaluation framework
Conference contribution, 2013
Research purpose: Various urban freight transport measures have been introduced in order to improve logistics performance while at the same time reducing the negative environmental and socio-economic impacts. The results, however, are disappointing, showing unwanted side effects and/or dependency on government subsidies, which is mainly due to the fact that the measures are planned without taking into account the special characterisation of the city as well as the interests of all urban stakeholders. This paper aims to contribute to improving the effectiveness of urban logistics initiatives. The purpose is to develop an assessment and evaluation framework that reflect first, the characteristics of the city environment, and second, the complexity of urban logistics consisting of many stakeholders.
Methodology: The framework is developed based on a literature review on urban freight transport measures and evaluation methods. The practical feasibility of the framework is tested in a multiple case study analysing two pilot projects of consolidated last mile deliveries in two areas representing different spatial urban structures and different transport characteristics.
Results: Urban freight transport problems are not standard across cities or within cities and consequently urban freight transport measures need to be adapted to the local conditions. The framework evaluates the appropriateness of urban freight transport measures taking transport chain chara¬cteristics and the spatial constraints of the respective city area into account. The application of the framework on the pilot projects indicates the measures’ implications for all stakeholders, which is key to a successful implementation.
Conclusions: The developed framework has both practical and theoretical implications. From a practical perspective, the framework helps local authorities to get a holistic understanding of the implications of urban logistics measures. Furthermore, it helps authorities to assess whether successful measures from elsewhere can be successfully implemented in the local context. In this way, the framework contributes to the transferability of best practice in urban logistics.
From a theoretical perspective, the framework is an important contribution to the existing knowledge on the interplay between urban form on the one hand and logistics and transportation on the other hand. In this way, the framework shows the relations between the urban stakeholders and how their integration contributes to sustainable urban freight transport. The framework provides an understanding of the constitutional principles underpinning the functioning of the urban freight transport system and hence can be a reference point for future theory development and empirical research on urban freight transport.