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Access restrictions for freight vehicles

Brescia

Freight distribution is an increasingly important part of modern life. However, freight transport is also becoming more and more problematic in many cities: it often causes severe congestion, slows vehicles down due to several stops along the way and causes problems in the confines of the city centre where many deliveries take place. To minimise these negative consequences, Brescia has introduced restrictive measures for more efficient freight distribution.

Implementing sustainable mobility

When CIVITAS started, there were two key topics under discussion in Brescia, namely city logistics and freight distribution. Logistics services in the city required upgrading so they could cater to urban areas. In parallel, there was a need to reorganise freight distribution in the historical centre, particularly since access was managed through a Limited Traffic Zone (LTZ) where only residents, local public transport vehicles and other authorised vehicles could enter. The LTZ was characterised by different time bands (Z1 for the core with no access 24 hours a day and Z2 with open access from 4 pm to 8 am) to allow freight distribution in the city centre, where about 500 commercial businesses are located. The proposed solution that considered both topics was considered an innovative one at city level as it provided a comprehensive vision of urban freight movement in Brescia.

How did the measure progress?

An Urban Logistics Plan was elaborated by analysing the state of art concerning the freight distribution in Europe and in several Italian cities. Some solutions to create an urban distribution centre, including location and management considerations, aimed to reorganise freight distribution at city level. In particular, the measure foresaw new time windows and restrictions for the historical centre. The pedestrianisation of the main historical squares and substantial reorganisation of the freight delivery programme helped upgrade the standard of living and improve the environment in the heart of the city.

What were the outcomes of the measure?

During the measure's implementation, information was collected about the average weight per delivery and about the number of access points leading to the historic centre. The data helped clarify to what extent operators streamlined their deliveries by optimising the use of their vehicle capacity and reducing their forays into the city centre. The results showed that the number of delivery vans decreased by 18%, trucks by 14.5% and lorries by 2.5%, while the average weight per delivery increased by 12%.

Transport companies were also obliged to reduce delivery journeys in order to respect the time restrictions for entering the centre and had to increase the average weight per delivery. Also the reduction and the reorganisation of loading and unloading areas influenced the choice of vehicles used and the weight factor. In addition, data collected through the LTZ cameras revealed that the pedestrianisation and new restrictive measures also contributed to the reduction of private car access (-9.2%).

Stakeholder acceptance towards implementation of an urban distribution centre in Brescia was assessed through a survey of 15 key freight operators in Brescia. The results revealed that during CIVITAS operators expressed solid, ongoing interest in the development of a freight distribution centre.

The measure led to the establishment of an experimental UDC service called Eco-Logis, which was launched on 12 November 2012 upon the completion of the MODERN project. The service is currently in operation and the experimental phase will last for at least one year. The measure's positive impact will continue well into the future by keeping the UDC active beyond the experimental phase.

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