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 2: Urban Freight Transport: The Challenge of Sustainability

H.J. (Hans) Quak

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


H.J. (Hans) Quak INTRODUCTION Sustainability of Urban Freight Transport Urban freight transport is frequently censured for its unsustainable impacts. Although our current urbanized civilization requires an efficient freight transport system in order to sustain it, the common perception is that urban freight transport has negative impacts on all sustainability issues: social, economic and environmental (also known as the triple P: people, profit and planet). Urban freight transport, or urban goods movement, is identified as having the following unsustainable effects on: ● ● ● people, such as the consequences of traffic accidents, noise nuisance, visual intrusion, smell, vibration and the consequences of (local) emissions, such as NOx and PM10, on public health; profit, such as inefficiencies (especially for carriers) due to regulations and restrictions, congestion and reduced city accessibility; the planet, such as the contribution of transport to global pollutant emissions (CO2) and the consequences for global warming. Many different actors are involved in or with urban freight transport; they often have their own, sometimes conflicting, stakes in it. This makes it difficult to develop sustainable solutions for the issues raised. In what way urban freight transport is experienced as unsustainable depends on the actor in question, resulting in a wide variety of problem perceptions in the field. Accordingly, such problems are complex and compound, since a solution for one actor often forms the base of a new problem for another actor (Browne and Allen, 1999). We distinguish four main actor groups in urban freight transport (Quak, 2008): 37 MACHARIS PRINT (M2674).indd 37...

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