Goods transport in large European cities: Difficult to organize, difficult to modernize
In this article, I wish to present three characteristics of urban goods movements in major European cities: (1) Goods movements are largely indifferent to the internal structure of cities. (2) Urban policies targeted on freight mobility appear to be quite inefficient. (3) The provision of appropriate urban logistic services is slow in emerging despite growing needs. These features have been observed over the last five or six years through working with large metropolitan transport authorities, as well as with the French national research program on "Goods in Cities" and the "Best Urban Freight Solutions" European network. These observations draw a picture of the urban freight industry, which can appear quite critical. Indeed, many initiatives have emerged to make this industry less routine and more efficient, especially regarding its environmental impacts as well as its level of quality of service. However, changes are slow, and on the whole, it appears as though none of the stakeholders are willing to make fast progress: on the one side, city governments expect business to set up new logistic services fit to the emerging needs of the customers and retailers as well as beneficial to the environment; on the other side, logisticians are waiting for municipalities to initiate (and subsidize) new services before starting businesses which could prove poorly profitable and highly risky. Despite this tendency for status quo in the urban freight industry, some solutions can be identified, which I present in the concluding chapter of this paper.
Volume (Year): 41 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (March)
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