Logistics Systems for Sustainable Cities

Cover of Logistics Systems for Sustainable Cities

Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on City Logistics (Madeira, Portugal, 25–27 June, 2003)



Table of contents

(35 chapters)

A study to investigate the sensitivity of urban freight patterns to various greenhouse abatement policy measures is underway with Metropolitan Sydney being used as the case study area due to the availability of detailed freight and passenger network level data and models at the New South Wales Transport Data Centre (TDC). The study is designed to build on methodologies under development by TDC to derive freight traffic due to total requirements for freight and relative requirements for categories of goods from actual or forecasted commodity flows and associated information. This paper describes the selection of candidate policy measures for investigation and presents the methodology and processes used in modelling their impacts on urban freight patterns. The discussion will focus on six scenarios which provide policy instruments for application to a 1996 base case. Some results of the modelling of these scenarios will then be presented and issues arising from the study discussed. Special attention will be given to the relative changes in travel characteristics and emissions brought about by these instruments.


The continuing urbanization, the still increasing cargo distribution volumes towards the city centers and the spectacular growth in road transportation are deteriorating the traffic situation in large cities, and so a heavy threat for fast, predictable and cost-effective city logistics. Now is the time to develop new standardized logistic concepts, including the use of all available modes of transport. Standardized city boxes, vehicles, handling equipment and city access rules will support the interchangeability within logistic networks and will encourage the implementation of new concepts for city logistics offering a better service for equal or even lower costs. Shuttle concepts for road-bound distribution will result in better vehicle utilization, less environmental impact and better quality of life. Furthermore, rail-bound systems for the combined transport of passengers and freight have a large potential for regional and city-bound cargo distribution.

For area's with a suitable waterways network, barge transportation can be used both for long-haul and bi-modal (barge-truck) city logistics.

Partnerships between transportation companies, retailers, logistic providers and local/regional authorities will be required to introduce new logistic concepts. These will be necessary to maintain efficient city logistics and to improve the quality of life in the cities.


This contribution describes the urban freight structure in the Zurich area, the possibilites and the potential for rail and intermodal transport. It contains results from studies made for the authorities of the city and the canton of Zurich and also from European research projects. It also notes supporting measures and framework conditions to reach a modal shift from road to rail based transport.


Business-to-consumer e-commerce results in deliveries to consumers. Before evaluating the impact on urban networks, it is necessary to describe and understand the underlying logistics. Certain sectors, e.g. food products, require specific solutions.

Distribution systems are presented as an alternative to private shopping trips. However, the costs of order handling (order-picking, packaging) and home deliveries are still high and not always covered by the price paid by the consumer. On the whole, the profitability of on-line retailing is uncertain and the number of clients limited.


Since the McKinsey Company first forecast, in 1994, that home shopping via the internet, would change our lives forever, there has been a continual concern that this demand would generate both more Business to Business (B2B) road transport trips, and a quantum leap in the Business to Consumer (B2C), householder delivery trips. This was also additional to the growth expected in most major capital cities over the next fifteen to twenty years.

Although there is much discussion as to when the internet began to generate, or most likely substitute existing business into either smaller B2B pulses to customers, or beginning the household e-Commerce deliveries, by 1998 the internet was generally accepted as having had an impact.


E-commerce businesses have been undergoing rapid development for the last five years in the United States and for the past two years in Europe. This sustained growth illustrates the existence of a demand for this type of service, particularly among the youth. Beyond the startup phase, e-commerce companies are continuing to generate significant losses, which point to organisational defects, the most serious being logistic support to this business. Analysis of the e-commerce issue is delicate, given the haziness of the activity's perimeter. E-commerce startups offer services similar to traditional mail-order, and consumer retailing is not clearly stating its objectives in creating its own e-commerce sites.

Logistics is not an organisational technique that is adapted to the rapid and unpredictable changes that e-commerce is experiencing today. Logistics related problems in e-commerce vary according to the type of commercial activity involved, but they are often considerable and sometimes result from the precipitation with which these activities were set up.


The logistics cost is about 8% of GDPin Japan and the transport cost is 60% of logistics cost. And also, the road freight traffic volume is 40% of total vehicle kilometres including passenger car. Therefore, it is very important for our society to increase the efficiency of road freight transport.

Carriers generally have two ways to decrease road freight traffic volume. First, is to increase loading rates of LTL vehicles by joint delivery and the second is to decrease trucks running empty through the use of a information sharing system for TL vehicles. Recently, many Websites for information sharing are established in order to decrease the empty vehicles.

However, most of TL truck carriers are small companies and lack of financial and human resource for information sharing. In 1998, only 25% of these carriers used Personal Computer for their business. In 2002, this figure increased to 80% based mainly on the diffusion of Internet-accessible mobile phone. As the results, the possibility of information sharing between carriers is increasing.

The traditional information sharing systems have been used the specific communication line and closed system during carriers. Recent systems use the Web site and quasi-open type between carriers and shippers. There are some barriers for the application of the information sharing system to city logistics. It is necessary to have lead-time of 2 or 3 days before dispatching of TL. This lead-time includes order processing and freight and fleet management for each truck carrier. And also the institutional elements such as the arrangement on the level of freight charge and the insurance on cargo and transport is very important pre-requites for information sharing.

In near future, the possibility of application of information sharing system for city logistics will be increase when mobile Internet systems shorten the necessary lead -time and the institutional environment are improved.


Although delivery of goods is vitally important for residents and industries in urban areas, the presence and operations of goods transport vehicles in urban areas are often regarded more as a nuisance than an essential service. Relatively little has been done by many governments to facilitate the essential flows of goods in urban areas and to reduce the adverse impacts of urban goods transport on the communities being served. This has resulted in increasing problems associated with goods delivery including competition with passenger transport for access to road infrastructure and space for parking/delivery facilities. How should OECD countries deal with the difficult challenges they face in this area?

This report analyses measures taken in many cities in the OECD area and provides recommendations for dealing with these challenges.



Sustainable city logistics solutions must be considered in accordance to develop lively and accessible city centres where we can all move around safely, and where trade and culture are flourishing. This requires delivery of goods on a daily basis considering these aspects:

  • The transport must be geographically concentrated,

  • Large amounts of volume of parcels or goods

  • High exploitation of capacity

The transport must be geographically concentrated,

Large amounts of volume of parcels or goods

High exploitation of capacity


As the land transport task, especially road is expected to increase significantly, by 2015, it would hardly be surprising that many policy makers will look to some form of urban transport environmental control long before this date. One method is via the introduction of a set of operational environmental hurdles. This is not a new concept. However, this paper proposes a new environmental initiative for urban transport operations. The scheme which is simple for both operators and regulators proposes an effective and meaningful operational rating system which reflects the efforts an operator may go to in their internal fleet environmental policies in purchasing equipment, daily workload planning, waste disposals policies etc.

The three tiered environmental operator performance rating scheme, the E-plus scheme has three levels of operator segmentation. A good basic auditable level of environmental compliance, an E rating, an excellent rating E plus, and an exceptional rating would be an E double plus. Probably no fleets currently in Australia would earn a double plus rating at this time.

Why should there be a road transport operator environmental rating scheme? Firstly as a measurable benchmark for the community and the fleet operators themselves. Secondly and a factor of growing importance is for the customers who are the buyers of freight services. Already customers are specifying in their tender requirements that transport operator environmental competencies and capabilities be listed. This may aid the selection of an operator for a specific task. For example; food sensitive freight handling may require specific food certification scheme adoption such as the HACCP classification system. Similarly an urban courier contract may specify, environmental credentials which sit under an ISO 14000 framework. However, what more specific operator differentiation criteria can be requested by the customer? The E plus system is being designed for this very purpose. In Australia some regulators and teaching centres have begun to take an interest in this transport operator framework.


The behaviour of the key stakeholders in city logistics, as defined in Taniguchi et al. (2001) (e.g. shippers, residents, freight carriers and administrators), can be affected by the decisions taken by other stakeholders. The case presented in this paper reports on the result of a bus line extension up to the main entry of hypermarket in Porto Metropolitan Area. Passengers reported changes in their shopping habits and senior people reported the utilisation of the home delivery service for the first time after the line extension. It appears that the existence of home delivery service provided by the hypermarket contributes to the increase of the patronage in public transport.

Cover of Logistics Systems for Sustainable Cities
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