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Goods transport in large European cities: Difficult to organize, difficult to modernize


  • Dablanc, Laetitia


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Dablanc, Laetitia, 2007. "Goods transport in large European cities: Difficult to organize, difficult to modernize," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 280-285, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:41:y:2007:i:3:p:280-285

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    Cited by:

    1. Joëlle Morana & Jesus Gonzalez-Feliu, 2010. "La logistique du dernier kilomètre : les défis d'un transport urbain « vert »," Working Papers halshs-00493701, HAL.
    2. Sathaye, Nakul & Harley, Robert & Madanat, Samer, 2010. "Unintended environmental impacts of nighttime freight logistics activities," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 44(8), pages 642-659, October.
    3. Marchau, Vincent & Walker, Warren & van Duin, Ron, 2008. "An adaptive approach to implementing innovative urban transport solutions," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 405-412, November.
    4. Marcucci, Edoardo & Gatta, Valerio & Scaccia, Luisa, 2015. "Urban freight, parking and pricing policies: An evaluation from a transport providers’ perspective," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 239-249.
    5. Santos, Lui­s & Coutinho-Rodrigues, João & Current, John R., 2008. "Implementing a multi-vehicle multi-route spatial decision support system for efficient trash collection in Portugal," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 922-934, July.
    6. Arvidsson, Niklas, 2013. "The milk run revisited: A load factor paradox with economic and environmental implications for urban freight transport," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 56-62.
    7. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:8:p:1453-:d:108658 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Joëlle Morana & Jesus Gonzalez-Feliu, 2011. "Le transport urbain vert de marchandises : leçons tirées de l'expérience de la ville de Padoue en Italie," Post-Print halshs-01081765, HAL.
    9. Jesus Gonzalez-Feliu, 2011. "Costs and benefits of logistics pooling for urban freight distribution: scenario simulation and assessment for strategic decision support," Post-Print halshs-00688967, HAL.
    10. Lindholm, Maria Eleonor & Blinge, Magnus, 2014. "Assessing knowledge and awareness of the sustainable urban freight transport among Swedish local authority policy planners," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 124-131.
    11. Maria Lindholm, 2013. "Urban freight transport from a local authority perspective – a literature review," European Transport \ Trasporti Europei, ISTIEE, Institute for the Study of Transport within the European Economic Integration, issue 54, pages 1-3.
    12. Vidal Vieira, José Geraldo & Fransoo, Jan C., 2015. "How logistics performance of freight operators is affected by urban freight distribution issues," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 37-47.
    13. Zanni, Alberto M. & Bristow, Abigail L., 2010. "Emissions of CO2 from road freight transport in London: Trends and policies for long run reductions," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 1774-1786, April.
    14. repec:eee:trapol:v:59:y:2017:i:c:p:10-16 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Gilles PACHE, 2008. "Perspectives in Food e-Tailing – is Logistical Performance Always Essential to Develop a Sustainable Competitive Advantage?," Timisoara Journal of Economics, West University of Timisoara, Romania, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, vol. 1(2), pages 163-176.
    16. Sandrine Ville & Jesus Gonzalez-Feliu & Laetitia Dablanc, 2010. "The limits of public policy intervention in urban logistics: The case of Vicenza (Italy) and lessons for other European cities," Post-Print halshs-00742857, HAL.
    17. Romeo Danielis & Edoardo Marcucci, 2007. "The Demand Potential of an Urban Freight Consolidation Centre," Working Papers 0711, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Department of Economics, Society & Politics - Scientific Committee - L. Stefanini & G. Travaglini, revised 2007.
    18. Thomas Baudel & Laetitia Dablanc & Penelope Aguiar-Melgarejo & Jean Ashton, 2015. "Optimizing Urban Freight Deliveries: From Designing and Testing a Prototype System to Addressing Real Life Challenges," Post-Print hal-01255153, HAL.
    19. Meisel, Frank & Thiele, Nicole, 2014. "Where to dispose of urban green waste? Transportation planning for the maintenance of public green spaces," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 147-162.
    20. Corinne Blanquart & Saskia Seidel & Barbara Lenz, 2014. "A conceptual framework to understand retailers'logistics and transport organization-illustrated for groceries'goods movements in France and Germany," Post-Print hal-00985969, HAL.
    21. repec:eee:transb:v:104:y:2017:i:c:p:238-255 is not listed on IDEAS

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