Innovative Solutions for City Logistics: Demonstration and Viability Results

Innovative Solutions for City Logistics: Demonstration and Viability Results


H Quak, S Balm, B Posthumus, TNO, NL; M Breuning, Fraunhofer Berlin, DE


This paper discusses CITYLOG demonstrations' results of infomobility services, innovative vehicle solutions, and the mobile pack station and container. Next, we examine the transition issues these solutions face, using a business model methodology.


Urban freight transport, or city logistics, is usually recognized for its unsustainable impacts on the quality of life in cities. It adds to congestion, nuisance, bad air quality and CO2 emissions. Although it is widely acknowledged that city logistics activities are necessary for a city to function in the first place, as a location where people, goods, and services come together, a more efficient urban freight transport system could reduce its negative impacts. The problems in city logistics are not new, and solutions have been tried and demonstrated on small scale. However, large scale (and long term) implementations are scarce. City logistics related problems remain, and we can conclude that the solution for urban freight transport issues has not been found yet (see for example Quak, 2008).

Next, there has been a spectacular increase in the number of home deliveries over the last decade. This adds to the problems logistics service providers already experience in city logistics, since the percentage of successful home deliveries is relatively low. Receivers are often not at home during time of delivery and the carrier has to visit the address a second, or even a third time - not to mention the returns that carriers have to collect, due to e-commerce sales. Hence, at this moment home deliveries require in general many transport activities, which increases the unsustainable effects of city logistics activities.

The solution for city logistics problems does not exist, as the various urban freight transport issues differ considerable, as well as the stakes of the different actors (Quak, 2011). Many city logistics initiatives (and studies) focus primarily on one objective, and tend to ignore the interests of stakeholders that have to make changes for an initiative to become successful in the long run. Therefore, we developed a methodology that considers the business models of all stakeholders involved. This methodology makes clear what transitions are required from all city logistics stakeholders. Next, it also shows how the gains have to be distributed between these different actors to persuade also the actors that might otherwise not be interested to collaborate in a solution. Quak and Tavasszy (2011) make a first attempt to use business models to describe the required transition for the introduction of an urban freight consolidation center. In this conference contribution we will explain how this method can be used for other city logistics solutions, and illustrate this for the three solutions that are developed in the CITYLOG project.

The three issues raised, i.e. increasing the urban freight transport system efficiency, developing a viable business model that takes account of all stakeholders, and increasing the success rate of home deliveries, are examined and tested in practice in the CITYLOG project. The CITYLOG European project is a focused research collaborative project co-funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme, Theme 7, Sustainable Surface Transport. The CITYLOG main objective is to increase the sustainability and the efficiency of urban delivery of goods (see Zucotti et al., 2011). In CITYLOG three solution directions are examined: 1) logistics-oriented infomobility services including an optimized pre-trip planner, a new type of navigation system based on enhanced maps and a last mile parcel tracking service to avoid unsuccessful deliveries, 2) innovative vehicle solutions and 3) the mobile container and Bentobox container, i.e. a mobile pack station, for parcel deliveries. In this conference contribution we discuss the actual demonstrations? results of the CITYLOG solutions (in practice) from Berlin and Lyon, where a logistics operator has tested the solutions for several weeks. Next, we discuss the transition issues that these solutions face, using the developed business model methodology.

Quak, H.J. (2011) Urban freight transport: the challenge of sustainability, in C. Macharis en S. Maria Melo (eds.) City Distribution and Urban Freight Transport - Multiple Objectives, 37 ? 55, NECTAR Series on Transportation and Communications Networks Research. Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham.
Quak H.J. and L.A. Tavasszy (2011). Customized solutions for sustainable city logistics; The viability of urban freight consolidation centres, in: J. van Nunen et al., (eds.) Transitions towards sustainable mobility, 213 - 234, Springer, Berlin.
Quak, H.J. (2008). Sustainability of Urban Freight Transport - Retail Distribution and Local Regulations in Cities. ERIM, Rotterdam (ERIM Ph.D Series Research in Management 124, TRAIL Thesis Series T2008/5).
Zucotti, S., A. Corongiu, S. F. Forkert, A. Nasr, H. Quak , and C. Torres (2011). Integrated infomobility services for urban freight distribution. 2011 IEEE Forum on Integrated and Sustainable Transportation Systems June 29 - July 1, 2011, Reed Messe Wien.


Association for European Transport