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Observatory of Strategic Developments Impacting Urban Logistics (2017 version)


Urban freight living labs need to operate in full recognition of the challenges that will shape the mobility of goods in urban areas in the future. These challenges are several: macro economic, micro-economic, demographic, technological, societal, and legal. To help CITYLAB cities implement their urban freight initiatives, a better understanding of these challenges is necessary. This is what this Observatory of strategic developments impacting urban logistics intends to do, by providing data and analysis on some of the most important, or less well known, trends that will shape the urban mobility of goods in the future. This second version (2017) of the Observatory provides data and analyses on 1) Logistics Sprawl; and 2) E-commerce. Our findings about the main impacts of these two trends for cities involved in urban freight living labs are the following: - The number of logistics facilities (in their diversity: warehouses, fulfilment centres, distribution centres, cross-dock terminals) is increasing in cities, especially cities of some logistics importance as large consumer markets and/or logistics hubs processing the flow of goods generated by the global economy. These facilities are generally located in suburban areas, but a new niche market of urban warehouses is emerging. - Both e-commerce and logistics sprawl generate a rise in freight vehicles in urban areas, dominated by small vehicles, while medium to large lorries are relatively less important. These vehicles performing delivery operations are visible in neighbourhoods and a times of day when they were not identified before: residential neighbourhoods, residential building blocks, side streets, in the early evening and on week-ends. Emerging new types of vehicles (clean delivery vehicles, two and three wheelers) are now visible in urban centres. - Innovations in the urban supply chains include diverse forms of pick-up points and click-and-collect solutions, while the recent but extremely rapid rise in technologies and algorithms supporting instant deliveries (on-demand deliveries within less than two hours) brings with it a flourish of new companies connecting customers, suppliers and independent couriers, often using bicycles. - The overall impact of these new trends on energy and carbon emission related to urban freight is difficult to assess. Urban freight in general, for the Paris region, brings the following environmental impact: the share of traffic-related CO2, NOx and PM10 due to urban freight is 2.5 times larger than the share of vans and trucks in the regional traffic. The contribution of urban freight to air pollution is larger in the city of Paris. Social costs of air pollution caused by road traffic in general amount to 0.9% of the regional GDP in 2012. Some of the new trends bring more CO2 emissions, such as the relocation of logistics facilities far away in the suburbs, as de-consolidated shipments are delivered to urban consumers and businesses in smaller and more numerous vans. Some trends bring less CO2 emissions, with a rise in cleaner vehicles and innovative solutions such as drop-off/pickup points or bike-supported instant deliveries. Substitution patterns between personal mobility and professional freight mobility can be a good, or a bad, thing for CO2 emissions, depending on the initial circumstances and the way personal shopping was done before online orders. - What is certain is that these changes bring diversity in the urban traffic flow. Instant couriers are using all sorts of transport modes, including foot, bicycles, electrically assisted cargocycles, motorbikes, and various types of vans and lorries. This can negatively impact traffic management, road safety and conflicts in road uses, congestion, air pollution. Also, the trends we have looked at bring new types of urban jobs, with many unresolved legal issues and poor working conditions in many instances. New types of logistics buildings bring architectural diversity and innovation in cities, but also complaints about noise, aesthetics, as well as congestion and pollution at entrance and exit points. - These environmental and social impacts have been so far poorly documented and researched. Consumers are the main drivers of the changes we have observed, but they are also the residents or visitors of urban areas, and for that they carry an important share of the burdens, as well as the benefits, of the new landscape of urban logistics.
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hal-01627824 , version 1 (02-11-2017)


  • HAL Id : hal-01627824 , version 1


Laetitia Dablanc, Zeting Liu, Martin Koning, Jens Klauenberg, Leise Kelli de Oliveira, et al.. Observatory of Strategic Developments Impacting Urban Logistics (2017 version). [Research Report] IFSTTAR - Institut Français des Sciences et Technologies des Transports, de l'Aménagement et des Réseaux. 2017, 221p. ⟨hal-01627824⟩
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