PROSFET

Promoting Sustainable Freight Transport in Urban Contexts: Policy and Decision-Making Approaches

www.prosfet.eu

Within a context of growing urban population, advances in urban logistics operations and improved local authority planning, especially in the field of the urban freight transport, can alleviate the associated negative environmental and economic impacts occurring in cities.

Several types of stakeholders are involved in such urban logistics management processes. Among them, freight carriers and shippers are interested in minimizing freight logistics costs in order to maximize their profits, while maintaining a competitive level of service to their customers. City administrators and residents are oriented towards a decrease in traffic congestion, social costs and environmental nuisances, even though they are often direct beneficiaries of high quality delivery services.

This leads to a multitude of differing and possibly conflicting objectives that are involved in urban freight transport planning and decision making, yielding a high level of complexity. This provides a main motivation for the development of tools for helping decision makers to reach higher grades of efficiency.

Despite growing academic interest, the extent to which freight transport is acknowledged and formally considered in local authority transport planning varies considerably from country to country, and on a more local level, between towns and cities.

As a result, policy development with respect to urban freight and city logistics is characterised by a rather fragmented approach, with many city authorities finding it difficult to address the complex set of differing views of a large variety of stakeholders.

The project aims at identifying local authority planning needs with regards to urban/city logistics activities and the necessary pre-requisites for inclusion of stakeholders in the process.

Finally, the project will promote the knowledge transfer of methods and models through the conceptual development of a novel decision support tool (thanks to involved software houses).

The overall research objectives of ProSFeT will be the following ones:

  • To perform a review of urban freight transport in Europe, by highlighting best-practices and sharing them across a network of public bodies;
  • To promote the utilisation of stakeholders’ engagement methods in urban freight transport policy formulation and strategic decision making in Europe;
  • To promote the use of decision support tools for urban freight transport by public authorities in Europe.

With 54% of the world’s population living in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 66% by 2050 (United Nations, 2014), these trends are integrally linked to sustainable development. Thus, with good planning and governance, the increasing concentration of people in urban settlements can facilitate economic growth and social development, while also offering opportunities to mitigate against the adverse impacts of consumption and production patterns on the environment. In this regard, advances in urban logistics operations and improved local authority planning, especially in the field of the urban freight transport, can alleviate the associated negative environmental and economic impacts occurring in cities.

Over recent decades, interest and awareness in freight, and particularly urban freight activities, often referred to as city (or urban) logistics has been steadily growing in both the research environment and wider policy context. This has prompted a variety of definitions and understanding amongst academics and practitioners that demonstrate to some extent the complex nature of freight transport at the urban and city level, as well as the lack of consensus amongst researchers and local authorities on how to tackle the prevailing issues. For the purposes of this project, urban freight transport is broadly defined as encompassing “all movements of goods (as distinct from people) into, out of, through or within the urban area made by light or heavy goods vehicles”.

Several types of actors and stakeholders are therefore involved in such urban logistics management processes (Ballantyne et al., 2013). Among them, freight carriers and shippers are interested in minimizing freight logistics costs in order to maximize their profits, while maintaining a competitive level of service to their customers. City administrators and residents are oriented towards a decrease in traffic congestion, social costs and environmental nuisances, even though they are often direct beneficiaries of high quality delivery services. This leads to a multitude of differing and possibly conflicting objectives that are involved in urban freight transport planning and decision making, yielding a high level of complexity.

This provides a main motivation for the development of tools for helping decision-makers to reach higher grades of efficiency.

This project is predominantly focused on the identification and sharing of best practices for freight transport in urban contexts amongst a wide variety of stakeholders (both public and private sector). Further to this, the identified best practices, participatory approaches for stakeholders’ engagement, and models and method for performing decision-making activities will be translated into a set of practical decision support tools aimed at helping local authorities and public bodies to identify, define and implement appropriate policy options for urban freight transport.

Within this context, knowledge transfer between the participating stakeholders will play a pivotal role in the success of the project that will result from secondments and networking events between the project partners.

The overall research objectives of ProSFeT will be the following ones are:

  • Perform a review of urban freight transport in Europe and highlight best practices and share across network of public bodies;
  • Promote throughout the network utilisation of stakeholders engagement methods in urban freight transport policy formulation and strategic decision making in Europe – WP1;
  • Promoting use of decision support tools for use in freight transport by public authorities in Europe.

University of Sheffield

CNR – Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche

University of Gothenburg

Universidad de Extremadura

Stockholms Stadshus AB

Sheffield City Council

City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council

Softeco Sismat Srl

Shaping Cloud

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Marco Boero


Marco Gorini

Know how - Mobility

Synopsis

EC Programme
H2020-MSCA-RISE-2016

Grant agreement
734909

Start date
January 2017

Duration
36 months

Coordinator
The University of Sheffield (UK)