Centro Ecologico Distribuzione Merci
Centre for Eco-Friendly City Freight Distribution


Financed under the LIFE Environment Program, CEDM is a three-year pilot project project aiming at the study and  implementation of a number of measures – regulatory, organisational, operational and technological – to improve City Logistics operations and reduce the negative impacts of freight traffic in the inner historical centre of Lucca.

Addressing specifically mid-size cities with important historical centres - and the problems such kind of environment has in terms of mobility and traffic flows impacts, efficiency of logistics operations, environmental and city life quality levels  - CEDM focussed on  the realisation and start up of a Centre for Eco-Friendly City Freight Distribution (in italian: Centro Ecologico per la Distribuzione delle Merci, CEDM) and on the use of electric vehicles to ensure zero emission freight distribution operations in the historical centre of Lucca.

Centred around the concept and operation of the Centre for Eco-Friendly City Freight Distribution, CEDM implemented, integrated and demonstrated innovative B2C and B2B city logistics services strongly oriented to cooperative logistics and to facilitate the interaction of the different actors within the logistics chain – freight transport operators (short/mid/long-range), eco-friendly fleets for city deliveries, shops and retail system, mobility operators, Local Authorities,

All CEDM measures and pilot services (see section Insight) are based on city logistics schemes well integrated in the broader context of Lucca mobility and transport measures. The evaluation of implemented measures during pilot operations (over more than one year time) has shown the benefits of CEDM scheme and services in terms of  contributing to higher standards of energy efficiency and environmental quality in the historical centre, thereby proposing an assessed model for city distribution that can be adopted also from other European cities of the same kind and size.

The CEDM pilot project successfully ended the planned activities on April 2008. The implementation and demonstration of the CEDM and its advanced B2B and B2C services lead to important steps to prepare the permanent introduction and operation of CEDM infrastructures and city distribution services as part of the overall plan for a sustainable mobility in Lucca (for more details, see section Results).

The following video (in italian, 14 mins) illustrate the project context, the implemented measures and technologies as well as the main achievements of CEDM operations in Lucca.


CEDM provides assessed measures and answers for sustainable City Logistics within historical urban centres. Many European cities and towns have historical centres, and sustainability, environment preservation and quality of life have become major concerns. City Logistics is assuming a transverse role, as it operates within complex interdependencies at the urban level. New solutions are increasingly being researched, including measures and elements such as freight transit points, on-demand van stop and unload areas, time windows and access 'certificates', van sharing, B2C goods pick-up points and e-lockers, etc.

The city of Lucca, a mid-sized city with an important historical centre located in central Italy (Toscana Region) has invested over the last years relevant resources to achieve significant reductions of traffic related energy consumption, noxious gases emissions and noise, and to preserve the quality of the environment and the historical and tourist assets. This has been done through specific regulatory initiatives and mobility schemes and the realisation of telematics infrastructures devoted to mobility management, improvement of quality of public transport and environmental protection.

Being Lucca, as a large part of Italian and European historical cities, vocationally oriented mainly to services, commerce and tourism, the city Administration has put much attention and political will to address also city logistics within their mobility and environmental short-/mid-term city priorities. Currently, the historical city centre is partly closed to private traffic but not to freight traffic, thus specific innovative measures are needed to reduce impacts and preserve not only the quality and sustainability of the urban environment but also its attractiveness for commerce, service and economic activities.

CEDM aimed at implementing innovative models and solutions for city logistics to significantly reduce the environmental impacts of freight traffic in the city centre and supply high quality and innovative logistics services to the citizens and economic operators (E.g. shopkeepers, craftmen, etc.).

These services and technological solutions, in fact, lead to a decrease of the number of circulating vehicles, to a better efficiency of the urban distribution scheme, to an improvement of the offer and quality of the services in the city and to the trialling of additional services for commercial operators and their customers (deliveries to parking areas/private homes/hotels, used packaging collection, etc.).


Municipality of Lucca (IT)

Regione Toscana (IT)


Softeco Sismat (IT)

Municipality of Aalborg (DK)

MemEx (IT)

COTAS Logistica (IT)

Ministry for Environment and Protection of the Territory (IT)

CEDM implemented and piloted an integrated innovative approach to city logistics strongly oriented to cooperation among the different actors involved in the logistics chains – long-/mid-range freight transport operators, city distribution fleets, Local Authorities, shops and retail system, hotels, citizens and travellers, etc. – and to the adoption of several innovative city distribution schemes and integrated measures which contribute reducing the negative effects of current logistics processes.

Central to the proposed approach are several main interrelated components:

  • A Centre for Eco-Friendly City Freight Distribution operations (Centro Ecologico per la Distribuzione delle Merci, CEDM) outside the historical and economical urban area of Lucca, working as a freight transhipment and goods collection point.
  • A distributed, internet based e-Services system, hosted in the CEDM and linking all main actors within the city logistics chain – long-/mid-distance freight transport operators, city distribution operators, shops and delivery destinations, freight transit points, eCommerce infrastructures, etc. This multi-service architecture operates as a City Logistics Virtual Agency providing business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-administration (B2A) services to enable cooperation between the different involved actors and improve the operation of city logistics schemes.
  • The use of eco-compatible freight vehicles and clean fuels for deliveries in the inner historical centre. All of these elements will be integrated in the general city policy of reducing of greenhouse effects and the level of noxious gases emissions and noise, contributing a relevant added value to the efficiency of goods delivery processes and to overall urban sustainability.

High level architecture of CEDM ICT supporting system


Screenshots from the eMILE operation support sw system


The successful implementation of CEDM pilot freight distribution services and supporting measures in Lucca  lead to the positive evaluation of new, sustainable city distribution schemes and of their permanent introduction in the ongoing innovation process of city mobility.  Overall, the CEDM pilot allowed to assess the feasibility and operations of a City Distribution Terminal for Lucca historical centre, to demonstrate the functioning of eco-friendly fleets for city deliveries and to verify the technological solutions for managing the logistics services.

In particular, the pilot transit point generally allowed to:

  • reduce the present levels of congestion of commercial and freight traffic by reduction of the total number of vehicles in the historical centre and the optimisation and loads and delivery routes;
  • reduce the current levels of environmental pollution by the above reduction of traffic and adoption zero emission vehicles;
  • reduce noise pollution and risk for historical buildings due to vibrations resulting from freight traffic;
  • increase pedestrians safety;
  • improve the quality of life in the historical centre for both residents, visitors and tourists.

The CEDM project ended on April 30, 2008, but the action of the Municipality of Lucca aiming at setting up a Urban Distribution Centre as a supplier of useful and innovative logistics services for the City of Lucca still goes on.

The case of Lucca and CEDM pilot services have been recently reviewed in the context of the IEE TrailBlazer project. The corresponding case study document provides a nice summary presentation of the key results and achievements of CEDM in Lucca.

Another account of CEDM experience and results is given the the following article (in italian): Il Centro Ecologico per la Distribuzione Merci in Lucca, Logistica, Tecniche Nuove, Febbraio 2011.

Marco Boero

Marco Gorini

Know how - Mobility


EC Programme

Grant agreement
N° LIFE05 ENV/IT/000870

Start date
October 2005

30 months

Municipality of Lucca (IT)


CEDM project flyer (en)