A holistic approach to challenges in urban freight transport planning
Paper i proceeding, 2010

Freight transports in urban areas are still not well understood and there is no widespread methodology specifically aimed at the analysis and planning of such areas. To achieve urban sustainability, new models for the management of freight movements within city limits are warranted, in which municipal authorities play a pro-active role. The purpose of this paper is, firstly, to analyse the current state of freight transport in urban areas, and secondly, to identify possible shortcomings of current urban freight transport planning practices. This paper contributes to laying the groundwork for designing strategies and solutions to overcome the challenges involved in securing the mobility of goods and reducing unsustainable impacts from freight transport. A holistic approach was taken and in-depth interviews with 40 local actors and stakeholders were conducted in four cities around the Baltic Sea. The interviews represented authorities and other organisations connected with urban freight transport. The cities differ in size, economy, and history as well as political and cultural frameworks. A common characteristic of the cities, though, is the strong role the ports and logistics activities play. The study shows that there is a lack of a holistic understanding of the implications of freight transport in urban areas. Interaction and cooperation of all involved actors is necessary, but lacking, i.e., actors from the public and private sector. All these actors seem to be expecting initiatives to come from elsewhere. On the one hand, city governments expect businesses to set up new logistics services suited to the emerging needs of the customers and retailers. On the other hand, logistics providers wait for municipalities to initiate (and subsidize) new services before starting a business, which may prove unprofitable and highly risky. Furthermore, taking into account freight transport’s growing contribution to the negative impacts on the urban environment, compared to passenger transport, city authorities need more capacity and competence to manage and control the freight transports.

urban freight transport

sustainable transport

transport planning

city logistics


Maria Lindholm

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Logistik och transport

Sönke Behrends

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Logistik och transport

General Proceedings of the 12th World Conference on Transport Research Society

978-989-96986-0-4 (ISBN)


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