City Distribution and Urban Freight Transport

City Distribution and Urban Freight Transport

Multiple Perspectives

NECTAR Series on Transportation and Communications Networks Research

Edited by Cathy Macharis and Sandra Melo

City distribution plays a key role in supporting urban lifestyles, helping to serve and retain industrial and trading activities, and contributing to the competitiveness of regional industry. Despite these positive effects, it also generates negative (economic, environmental and social) impacts on cities worldwide. Relatively little attention has been paid to these issues by researchers and policymakers until recently. The analyses found in City Distribution and Urban Freight Transport aim to improve knowledge in this important area by recognizing and evaluating the problems, with a focus on urban freight transport systems.

Chapter 1: City Distribution, a Key Element of the Urban Economy: Guidelines for Practitioners

Laetitia Dablanc

Subjects: environment, transport, geography, cities, urban and regional studies, cities, transport, urban studies


Laetitia Dablanc INTRODUCTION Cities need freight, but they tend to ignore this particular kind of urban transport. Freight transport, despite providing thousands of jobs and much-needed services to the urban economy, has been neglected by transport surveys and models, transport strategies and regional master planning. In the meantime, freight operators have carried on with their business, providing the goods required by shops, companies and households at the right place and the right time. They usually succeed, but sometimes at an environmental or social cost. In large cities, one fourth of CO2, one third of nitrate oxides, and half of the particulates that come from transport are generated by trucks and vans (LET et al., 2006). Today, municipalities must make freight transport one of their priorities if it is to become more efficient and sustainable. For the purpose of this chapter, the definition of urban freight includes all goods movements generated by the economic needs of local businesses, that is, all deliveries and collections of supplies, materials, parts, consumables, mail and refuse that businesses require to operate. It also includes home deliveries by means of commercial transactions. We consider neither private transport undertaken by individuals to acquire goods for themselves (shopping trips), nor through traffic (trucks passing through a city en route to another destination without serving any business or household in the city). These two kinds of transport generate a large number of vehicle-kilometers (LET et al., 2006) and are legitimate policy targets, but a city’s priority is the accommodation...

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