NECTAR Series on Transportation and Communications Networks Research
Edited by Cathy Macharis and Sandra Melo
Chapter 1: City Distribution, a Key Element of the Urban Economy: Guidelines for Practitioners
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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