Efficient goods distribution

Basic Information

Mobility solution ID



- complete



Thematic areas

Urban logistics


Before CIVITAS there was no coordinated action plan or management amongst the various stakeholders in urban freight. Within this measure the municipality worked in close co-operation with all stakeholders in goods distribution with the objective of implementing a goods distribution model that fits the urban reality of the city and reduces negative impacts on the inhabitants and urban space.

Implementing sustainable mobility

Creating a new and efficient system for goods distribution in the Old City Centre and Ensanche area was at the focus of this measure.




The main objectives of the measure were to:

  • Increase stakeholder involvement in city planning and strategy development;
  • Reduce the number of freight vehicle kilometers;
  • Increase loading rates of freight vehicles in the city centre; and
  • Reduce total fuel consumption.

The basis for this measire was afeasibility study conducted for the selected city areas, completed by an inventory of the volumes of goods and number of freight trips made in the neighbourhoods in question. Possible legal barriers to the implementation were also investigated.


As a first step, the measure undertook a feasibility study in order to better understand all dimensions of goods distribution activity and identify the measures and recommendations likely to be adopted. In order to do so, all stakeholders were approached to evaluate their willingness to take part in a Freight Quality Partnership (FQP) whose main task would be to monitor and contribute to the feasibility phase by discussing on possible solutions to identified issues. Unfortunately, the lack of willingness to take part on it forced the cancellation of the FQP initiative. Bilateral meetings with stakeholders were held in order to overcome this unexpected lack of engagement.

Following the development of the feasibility study, an implementation plan including all the selected measures and recommendations was adopted. The main options investigated and discussed during the design phase were:

  • Creation of a freight consolidation centre for the last mile distribution of goods
  • The use of clean vehicles for last mile distribution
  • Regulatory options to improve loading behaviour
  • Increased control in the use of loading bays
  • Design of a night distribution protocol
  • The use of new technologies to make easier the communication between the distributors and the local shops, including communication with the municipal police and the possibility of reserving loading and un-loading zones.

To avoid legal and social barriers, a group of debate and control was created with the Chamber of Trade, retailer's associations, resident’s associations, representatives of the transport industry, local police, and other agents involved in freight distribution

The scheme was supported by a communication campaign focused on the trade sector.


The implementation of this measure contributed to increase efficiency in urban goods distribution in two Donostia - San Sebastián highly populated neighbourhoods. On the one hand, the new goods delivery regulation in the CIVITAS-Area contributed to a reduction in the average journey length from delivery vehicles from 4,5 km to 4,1 km. While the new last mile delivery service with electric cargo-bikes contributed to a saving of up to 26.849,4 km per year.

As a consequence, a yearly reduction of 23% in energy consumption was achieved, in addition to a significant reduction of carbon and pollutant emission levels associated to the delivery of goods within the CIVITAS-Area. And the transport companies reduced more than 6.800 € per year their operation costs due to the implementation of the measure.

A survey conducted for this measure revealed that nearly half (48,5%) of the involved population (neighbours, shopkeepers and transport operators) were aware of the initiatives put in place in the framework of the CIVITAS measure. More efforts on information regarding the measure are recommended, especially among neighbourhoods, although the new regulation affects them to a less extent than carriers and shopkeepers.

As for the acceptance level, the overall measure was assessed with an average score of 4,87 out of 10. This score contrast with the significantly higher score given to the different actions if assessed separately, which evidences the complexity of goods delivery, where many stakeholders are involved and not all measures are well perceived by everyone.



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