Smart urban freight logistics
Energy efficient and CO2-free urban logistics will be achievable in the future. A substantial contribution to the reduction of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions will be possible by 2050. For a successful implementation, cooperation between public authorities and private actors is essential.
Project description (completed research project)
In Switzerland over 80% of the population lives in urban areas. Between 2006 and 2015, the logistics market grew by 23%; the share of logistics in GDP reached 7%. Segments of the logistics market are therefore rapidly expanding in urban areas. While the transport sector today consumes about 40% of the energy used in Switzerland, 97% thereof comes from non-renewable energy sources. The Swiss energy strategy 2050 is aimed at substantially reducing the exploitation of energy sources and the consumption of non-renewable energy and emissions which are harmful to the climate, the environment and human health.
The aim of the project was to evaluate the potential for more efficient energy use, for the substitution of non-renewable energy resources and for the reduction of CO2-emissions in Swiss urban logistics by 2050. Different approaches (technical, infrastructural, logistical, co-operational, regulatory, behavioural) towards achieving these improvements have been investigated along with the necessary framework conditions.
The vision of energy efficient and CO2-free urban logistics developed for 2050 is feasible. The project has shown that this will require changes with regard to the use of technologies and infrastructure, the design of services and delivery concepts, market organisation and cooperation, planning and regulation, and finally to consumer behaviour. The impact analysis undertaken in the project illustrated that a significant contribution to the Swiss energy strategy 2050 is possible.
The implementation of the vision will contribute about 7% to the targets of the energy strategy 2050 and about 9% to the reduction targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Furthermore, there will be spill-over effects onto other means of transport and technology fields, which will further boost energy efficiency and reductions in GHG emissions. Changes in the regulatory framework, the political will to support the vision and the willingness of the shippers and logistics actors are necessary for a full implementation.
Implications for research
This was the first project to undertake comprehensive research on the energy consumption and CO2 emissisons of urban logistics in Switzerland. The combination of different methodologies was crucial to achieving sound and reliable results. Despite the limited scope for comparisons due to the lack of similar research efforts, the combination of various methods such as scenario forecasts, vision drafting and backcasting still led to a comprehensive analysis. The resulting recommendations, which are backed up by research and feedback cycles, met with wide support from experts and stakeholders. The used methodologies can be strongly recommended for anticipating future developments and their impact in a set framework.
Implications for practice
The vision developed in the project requires different important measures (CO2 free propulsion systems, mobility pricing, use of terms for roads, energy efficiency label, cooperation, logistics location planning, etc.) to reduce energy consumption and CO2-emissions. Public administrations should consider the results in their transport, land use and environmental planning to provide suitable framework conditions for more sustainable urban logistics. Shippers, logistics and transport service providers should also consider the results in the strategic development of their logistics activities (design of supply chains, decision on locations of logistics facilities, procurement of vehicles, etc.). A closer cooperation between administration and market actors will be an important factor in the implementation process.
Energy efficient and CO2-free Urban Freight Logistics