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Urban Freight Logistics

Promoting energy-efficient city logistics and innovative schemes for goods distribution that contribute to better overall urban transport

A significant amount of traffic in our cities is generated by the delivery of goods to shops, factories, offices, hotels, etc. These vehicles take up more space than cars and require space to load and unload.

The thematic group looks at overall strategies to create cleaner and better freight transport in cities.

Key areas of interest include: 

  • Low/zero emission vehicles for UFL
  • Best practices in UFL planning: SULPs, integration of UFL in SUMPs
  • Stakeholders' engagement, public-private cooperation
  • UFT data collection and management, and the role of ITS for UFL
  • Innovative schemes and business models for UFL: consolidation, e-commerce, sharing economy, (joint) procurement plans and actions.


The CIVITAS Policy Note “Making urban freight more sustainable” aims to raise awareness and increase knowledge of urban freight issues and challenges by providing a general overview of urban freight issues and definitions, as well as, indications of future trends. 

You can download the Policy note here.

More information

For more information on Thematic Group Urban Freight Logistics please contact Giacomo Lozzi

Join the group by clicking the blur banner 'Become a member' on the right-hand side of this page.

Submitted by Bruno Duarte on 27/07/2015

EU cities are invited to participate in the sixth edition of the Access City Award - The European Prize for making cities more accessible to people with disabilities and older people.

European cities over 50 000 inhabitants will have the opportunity to present their activities and strategies designed to make cities barrier-free, better places for everyone to live and work.

For more information, please refer to:

TitoStefanelli's picture
Submitted by Tito Stefanelli on 06/07/2015

Freight distribution is an increasingly important part of modern city-life.

In fact most of the goods consumed in our cities frequently originate from outside locations. In this way ‘urban’ goods transport is generally referred to the “last mile“ of the supply chain. Unfortunately trucks remain the dominant transport mode as they are perceived to be the most suitable to cover specific origins and destinations within the complex urban grid of streets. But they cause negative consequences in term of congestion and pollution, so a shift to different distribution strategies more suitable to an urban context is needed.

Within the paradigm of sustainable urban mobility, the logistic freight sector is to some extent in a paradoxical position. If, on one side, the increasing (negative) impacts that freight traffic has in our cities and, on the other side, the economic advantages (in terms of wealth and competitiveness) an urban area can benefit by an efficient freight delivery system are equally evident, planning and management aspects related to the logistics freight system are nowadays either neglected or treated occasionally or marginally.


CIVITAS WIKI and the CIVITAS Thematic Group on “Urban Freight Logistics” is drafting a Policy Note on this topic, in order to provide a support to decision/policy makers and urban mobility professionals.


A number of resources have been already made available on the Group webpage.

Scope of this collaborative interaction is to collect further resources, links to other projects, practical city experiences and obviously opinions and comments on the topic.


Join the Urban Freight Logistics Group and meet your peers @  to discuss on Urban Freight Logistics.

TitoStefanelli's picture
Submitted by Tito Stefanelli on 06/07/2015

Stakeholder consultation: Study on urban mobility - Preparation of EU guidelines on urban logistics


Dear all,

don't miss the opportunity to contribute to this online consultation that is part of an European Commission (Directorate General for Mobility and Transport) mandated study on facilitating the preparation of European non-binding guidance documents (NBGD) on urban logistics.

The consortium responsible for this study is formed by Ecorys, University of Antwerp, University of Lisbon and Prof. Dablanc of IFFSTAR.

The aim of this questionnaire is to identify key urban logistics challenges and user expectations regarding the upcoming non-binding guidance documents.


The consultation is bound by confidentiality rules and anonymity is guaranteed. We expect that completing this questionnaire will take up to 15 minutes.

For more information regarding this questionnaire, the results and our study please contact the project coordinator: Jochen Maes of Ecorys (E-mail: | T +31 (0)10 453 87 54).

We thank you in advance for your cooperation and willingness to help shape Europe’s future urban logistics policies


Go to questionnaire:

TitoStefanelli's picture
Submitted by Tito Stefanelli on 02/04/2015

Access restriction and control

cities involved: Aalborg, Bath, Brescia, Brighton & Hove, Craiova, Gent, Zagreb

Results and success factors

Access restrictions need to be regulated in order to maximise their impact and enforced to ensure that freight operators and drivers modify their behaviour. Regulating freight access in restricted areas based on vehicle emission standards or weight can, in fact, encourage freight operators to reconfigure their fleets in order to optimise access and meet customer demands. Vehicles can be granted different access rights into a pedestrian zone, and permits can be issued based on determined usage categories. The actual and predicted impacts on transport were well documented, and it is evident that the restrictive measures reviewed contributed to localised reductions in traffic flow. Only three of the measures reported environmental impacts, with slight improvements in local air quality and CO2 reduction. Surveys of local businesses indicated that there was a slight jump in acceptance levels following changes to the traffic network. On the other hand, commercial operators in many cities complained that perceived negative impacts associated with the measures would reduce their overall effectiveness. Lack of acceptance and concern associated with vehicle access restrictions impacted the development of two schemes.

Some of the most common solutions in order to change the patterns of freight activity while reducing levels of through-traffic into city centres are:

  • To alter the road network by reconfiguring streets and access;
  • To create pedestrian zones;
  • To block access permanently (if the access points are not shared by PT);
  • To regulate a zone through the installation of bollards;
  • To design delivery corridors or loading bays that could be placed at the rim of pedestrian zones and accessed through secondary streets with lower traffic loads;
  • To introduce speed limits in order to calm traffic flow.

Drivers and barriers

Stakeholder involvement during the implementation phase was mentioned as the main barrier, leading us to conclude that a high instance of cited involvement barriers will often coincide with a relatively high score in terms of problem related barriers. As the implementation of measures involving access restrictions is funded on the basis of political decisions taken by the local administration, it is obvious that political support is absolutely necessary. Political context is the most frequently mentioned driver at the preparation stage, together with organisational aspects, e.g. frequent and well-organised meetings.

Up-scaling and transferability

Access restrictions of freight vehicles have no significant up-scaling potential, as restrictions are usually applied to entire LTZs. Any further future up-scaling might focus on extending the area of managed deliveries beyond city boundaries; this might also entail the promotion and image improvement of clean vehicles in urban freight fleets through more restrictive environmental regulations. With regard to transferability, political support is vital for the implementation of this type of measure. In addition, time window restrictions and zoning often play a role, as do access charges and vehicle standards.

Link to the specific CIVITAS Plus measures

Aalborg: Environmental zone

Bath: Demand Management for Goods Vehicles

Brescia: Access restrictions for freight vehicles

Brighton & Hove: Clear zone

Craiova: Access restriction policies

Gent: Institutional platform for city freight management

Zagreb: Freight delivery restrictions

TitoStefanelli's picture
Submitted by Tito Stefanelli on 09/02/2015

New distribution schemes

cities involved: Bath, Bologna, Donostia-San Sebastian, Ljubljana, Perugia, Utrecht, Vitoria-Gasteiz

Results and success factors

Most of the measures about Urban Freight Logistics applied in CIVITAS PLUS cities focused on the concepts of bundling or consolidating deliveries, e.g. consolidation centres, merchandise pick-up points, central buffer zones, virtual logistics platforms and proximity areas. Other measures tested and promoted the use of cleaner vehicles for freight distribution.

An analysis of data supplied by logistics providers showed that using more energy-efficient freight distribution methods, including the use of electric vehicles, resulted in reduced fuel consumption by half and predicted reductions in emissions of pollutants. Nevertheless, in some circumstances also eco-friendly measures seem to have not fully exploited the potential of additional benefits: back-loading recycling on the return leg of journeys could be an option to reduce the number of waste collection trips.

The schemes generally received good acceptance both by stakeholders and residents. In some other cases, instead, public support waned during the implementation phase: this could indicate that the public does not perceive freight delivery transport as much of a problem.

Costs, especially for clean vehicles, are likely to be too high to attract private investment, making these measures viable only for public ownership. Operational costs could be optimised by subcontracting operations to established logistics providers that already have suitably located depots and/or fleets of clean vehicles.

Drivers and barriers


Measures encouraging the implementation of new freight operating modes or distribution schemes were hampered by several barriers at various stages. Lack of stakeholder involvement was identified as the main barrier during the preparation stage, followed by organisational and political barriers. At the implementation and operational stages, organisational barriers were deemed the most influential.

The same conclusions can be drawn with regard to drivers: involvement, good organisation and different kinds of political support were identified as important for half of the measures.

Up-scaling and transferability

New distribution schemes have good up-scaling potential, and in general there are always possibilities for other cities to develop new distribution schemes. However, local constraints in the urban structure can have negative impacts. Regardless of the level of implementation, these measures have provided valuable insights into the importance of planning, communication, research, testing and, especially, meaningful collaboration between stakeholders. The results and experiences from these projects can provide valuable guidance for future logistics and freight distribution schemes. The bundling concepts used in distribution models can be adapted also for non-traditional goods, which might include construction materials, fresh goods and perishable goods. However, further piloting is required to evaluate potential demand and benefits. Integration with pre-existing services could be beneficial. An analysis of success factors highlights the fact that cities should seize the opportunity to combine measures and maximise benefits.

Link to the specific CIVITAS Plus measures

Bath: Urban Freight Consolidation

Bologna: Urban freight delivery plan

Donostia-San Sebastian: Efficient goods distribution

Ljubljana: Integrated freight policy development

Perugia: PIPE§NET system for city logistics

Utrecht: Merchandise pick-up points (MPuP) & Distribution centres for fresh and perishable goods

Vitoria-Gasteiz: Urban freight logistics

TitoStefanelli's picture
Submitted by Tito Stefanelli on 09/02/2015

Transport  has become one of the major issues affecting sustainability in European cities: more than 72% of Europe’s population lives in urban areas and urban road traffic is responsible for 40% of total CO2 emissions and 70% of other pollutants.

The CIVITAS Initiative (“City-Vitality-Sustainability”, or “Cleaner and Better Transport in Cities”) was launched in 2002 with the aim to support cities to introduce ambitious transport measures and policies towards sustainable urban mobility. The goal of CIVITAS is to achieve a significant shift in the modal split towards sustainable transport, an objective that might be reached through encouraging both innovative technology and policy-based strategies. What makes CIVITAS unique is its flexibility and its cooperative approach, which facilitates knowledge acquisition and transferability.

Recently released on, CIVITAS Interactive now represents a powerful tool for sharing CIVITAS experiences enhancing Thematic Cooperation between city professionals.

In the next-coming Interactions I would like to present some of the main findings of the evaluation process concerning Urban Freight Measures that have been implemented by the CIVITAS Plus cities. The main purpose of these activities is to identify key requirements and opportunities for further local exploitation and cross-site dissemination.

More than twenty measures have been introduced in CIVITAS Plus cities in order to improve sustainable freight delivery: they can be grouped under three main topics:

  1. New distribution schemes
  2. Access restrictions and control
  3. Freight partnership schemes and driver support

In the following next three interactions (one per topic) I will report the following considerations:

  1. The evaluation of results and success factors.
  2. The identification of major drivers and barriers.
  3. Potential for further up-scaling and transferability.

Stay tuned on CIVITAS Interactive, follow and read what are the results of measures implemented by cities in CIVITAS Plus Collaborative Projects.

Contribute and comment the outcomes, imagine if these measure were applied to your city.

By reading the ‘Policy Recommendations’ published by the  CIVITAS POINTER project you can learn more on how to implement these measures in  your city. (for more details have a look at the publication ‘Policy Recommendations’).

TitoStefanelli's picture
Submitted by Tito Stefanelli on 24/04/2014

Give your contribution to Urban Freight Logistics Thematic Group!

Within the Urban Freight Logistics Thematic Group we are planning a series of Thematic Webinars with the main aim to provide to city planners and politicians an overview about the most common actions and activities (Best Practices) on goods delivery in our medium–sized city centres, for a more sustainable Urban Freight Logistics.

In fact, freight distribution is an increasingly important part of modern city-life. Most of our city centres are highly “infested” with freight delivery vehicles and they often cause severe congestion principally due to several stops along the way.

The need for city logistics is often a derived outcome of the new demands imposed by global supply chains on regional and urban landscapes. Since most of the goods consumed in cities originate from outside locations, urban goods transport is commonly referred to as the “last mile“ along a supply chain.

Until now, trucks remain the dominant urban mode as they are perceived to be the most suitable to service specific origins and destinations within the complex urban grid of streets. This cause a lot of negative consequences in term of congestion and pollution! In fact the “last mile“, considering the total supply chain, requires a shift to different distribution strategies more suitable to an urban context, often resulting in congestion, delays and additional costs proportionally higher than the distance concerned.

In this way we must think about a “sustainable urban distribution” and this concept must combines the maximisation of the economic efficiency of distribution in urban areas, while minimising the environmental and social impacts, taking into account the complete door-to-door transport chain.

The sustainability of cities cannot be re-viewed without due consideration to the role of goods transport.

Indeed, while a city can be perceived as an economic, social, political and cultural entity, urban freight distribution underlines the physical and managerial activities necessary to support all the activities linked to the distribution of goods.

However, compared to passenger transport, urban freight distribution has to a large extent been neglected by urban transport policy-makers.

So we have to re-think Urban Freight Logistic in our cities, introducing on one hand some restrictive measures for a more efficient freight distribution and on the other hand we have to introduce new “green“ vehicles more suitable for our historical city centres.

There are a lot of strategies/activities that that have been done during years in our cities. Some of them are listed below but this list is just one part of a big effort we might do in order to give more liveability to our cities.

The first webinar will be held at the end of May with the main topic: clean and efficient green vehicles for Urban Freight Delivery.

Considering this group as a living laboratory, please give your contribution highlighting some best practices and examples on green vehicles for Urban Freight Logistics.

Join the Urban Freight Logistics Group and meet your peers @ to discuss on green vehicles for urban freight delivery.



The pilot operation in the Czech capital was launched under the name Depot.Bike 

So far, seven logistics companies have joined: DHL Express, Dachser, PPL, DPD, GLS, CCCB partner MessengerCZ, and Rohlí (...

Author: Richard Adams
14/12/2020 - 10:39

Whilst good for economic growth, this increased activity poses some mobility-related challenges.

For this reason, the City of Antwerp put out a call in July 2020 to promote existing logistical services among local traders, apply new logistical solutions, and make existing partnership...

Author: Richard Adams
02/12/2020 - 13:28

Six local authorities have the opportunity to join the Transferability Platform and benefit from a tailored transferability programme building upon LEAD’s results. This includes capacity-building, training, technical visits, interactive workshops, and customised feedback.

Author: Richard Adams
20/11/2020 - 10:29

The LEAD project is running a survey to gather views on the key challenges, trends and influencing factors characterising urban freight transport (UFT), involving key experts and practitioners.

Author: Richard Adams
28/10/2020 - 10:26

From 30 September and 2 October, the first Urban Mobility Days brought together some 1,400 policymakers, local authorities, academics, NGOs, urban transport practitioners, urban planners and urban mobility practitioners.

They came together to focus on solutions to make mobility in cities...

Author: Richard Adams
19/10/2020 - 18:00

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01/06/2020 to 02/06/2020
*** Due to the ongoing public health crisis across Europe and beyond, this event has been provisionally postponed until this autumn. Information on the new dates will be made available in due course.*** The three CIVITAS Living Lab projects – DESTINATIONS, ECCENTRIC and PORTIS – invite you to join t...
Mobility practitioners in Spain are invited to join a workshop being organised in Donostia-San Sebastian (Spain) on Wednesday 5 June 2019. The workshop facilitates discussion and exchange of experiences on different challenges and solutions within the field of sustainable urban mobility planning. Wh...
22/05/2019 to 24/05/2019
Cities are key to the sustainable future of our planet and great changes are necessary to address climate change and social inequalities. The URBAN FUTURE Global Conference gathers CityChangers from all over the world, bringing together individuals who are involved in driving change towards more su...
The BuyZET project is glad to announce that the BuyZET final event will take place on 14 May 2019 in Brussels. In CIVITAS BuyZET, three cities (Copenhagen, Rotterdam and Oslo) are testing new smart procurement approaches to influence the transportation footprint of purchased services, goods and veh...
22/11/2018 to 23/11/2018
The 2018 Annual Polis Conference 'Innovation in transport for sustainable cities and regions' will take place on 22 and 23 November in Manchester United Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, United Kingdom.  It is the network's annual flagship event. It provides a unique platform to engage with represe...

CIVITAS Policy Note “Making urban freight more sustainable”

The CIVITAS Policy Note “Making urban freight more sustainable” aims to raise awareness and increase knowledge of urban freight issues and challenges by providing a general overview of urban freight issues and definitions, as well as, indications of future trends. 


CIVITAS QUOTES: Sustainable urban freight mobility


CIVITAS QUOTES: Increasing efficiency in goods distribution


CIVITAS QUOTES: A “platform” for loading/unloading bays


CIVITAS QUOTES: Consolidating urban deliveries

Policy Recommendations For EU Sustainable Mobility Concepts based on CIVITAS Experience

The Policy Recommendations present the main findings arising from the evaluation of the CIVITAS Plus Collaborative Projects (CPs), which ran from 2008-2012.

This publication was written under the auspices of the CIVITAS POINTER project, which supported five collaborative projects (CP s) implemented within the framework of the third edition of the CIVITAS programme. Evaluation and monitoring were the key stones of CIVITAS POINTER. Drawing from first-hand, corroborated statistical evidence gathered from participating cities, this publication presents the results of the CIVITAS Plus cross-site evaluation and policy assessment. These findings support the development of clear European-level policy recommendations that have the potential for being embraced by all European cities — not just those which make up the CIVITAS community.

The document seeks to identify factors that can boost the effectiveness and consistency of future strategies, thereby securing greater sustainability in urban mobility patterns. Policy makers are provided with contemporary facts for debating purposes, and a number of conclusions and recommendations based on lessons learnt from CIVITAS Plus are put forward.

Giving back the public space to the people - Mobility measures in Vitoria-Gasteiz

In the context of the next CIVITAS study tour hosted by the city of  Vitoria-Gasteiz on the 196&20 June 2014, an interested document presenting the mobility measures implmented by the city has been created:  

The main measures presented:

  • Superblocks project;
  • Traffic calming measures;
  • Freight distribution areas and limitations;
  • New Public transport network;
  • Local Bicycle Mobility Plan.

Should you have any question, please contac:

Environmental Studies Centre of Vitoria-Gasteiz

Asier Sarasua Garmendia



DG MOVE European Commission: Study on Urban Freight Transport

The aim of this study is to review existing and planned practices and measures relating to the urban section of the freight transport chain across the Member States of the EU with a view to determine whether, to what extent and in which form, action at the European level can be envisaged to promote successful solutions and improve the performance of freight transport.

Planning and Design for sustainable urban mobility – Chapter 4 URBAN GOODS TRANSPORT

Urban goods transport, also known as urban Freight  distribution, concerns a vast range of activities insuring an adequate level of service for a variety of urban supply chains.

This document reviews the trends and conditions of goods transport in urban areas, both within the formal and informal sectors. It outlines the fundamental contribution of goods transport for urban life, and points to the externalities generated by the sector.


CITY-2-CITY EXCHANGE: Urban Goods Transport

CITY-2-CITY EXCHANGE: Urban Goods Transport

Third CIVITAS MIMOSA Policy Statement 2010 on Urban Freight Distribution

Policy Advice Note Logistics

Policy Advice Note Logistics

Policy Advice Note Logistics

Policy Advice Note Logistics

Policy Advice Note Logistics

Policy Advice Note Logistics

Policy Advice Note Logistics

Cluster Report Logistics and Goods Distribution