– Urban freight distribution

Urban freight transport and logistics operations are concerned with the activities of delivering and collecting goods in town and city centres. These activities are often referred to as ‘city logistics’ as they entail the processes of transportation, handling and storage of goods, the management of inventory, waste and returns as well as home delivery services.

UFD must be addressed from different perspectives. You can benefit from an UFD project if you are a shipper, manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, freight carrier, local administration or even a resident/consumer.
The growing significance of urban freight transport and logistics is related to increased population and sustained economic growth in urban areas. As the majority of the population in Europe lives in urban areas and the bulk of industrial production is despatched to these areas, the result is an increased demand for freight transport.

Furthermore, as urban freight transport deals primarily with the distribution of goods at the end of the supply chain (last mille distribution), many deliveries tend to be made in small loads and in frequent trips, thus resulting in many vehicle kilometres.

Our expertise

ITA has developed the most advanced fully configurable systems and infrastructures to simulate a city logistics platform network and its main processes. They combine, among other, information from each platform, logistics fleet data, traffic information in the metropolitan area and configuration parameters, for the simulation, analysis and assessment of productive capacity.

We have developed innovative projects regarding UFD, to build up decision support systems to achieve:

  • Efficient last mile distribution optimization.
  • Optimization of urban freight models.
  • Scheduling and assignments activities.
  • Dynamic vehicle routing optimization.
  • Decreasing the traffic congestion and its impacts (noise, congestion, emissions).

ITA has also carried out numerous city logistics research studies and the centre is currently concerned in research and developing global methodologies for implementing sustainable urban freight plans based on the integration of stakeholders on urban areas.

Who can benefit from our experience?

 Different stakeholders can benefit from our experience in UFD. City Logistics is a scenario with various stakeholders with possibly different interests and approaches. First of all stakeholders and their objectives have to be identified:

  • Shippers, as for example manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, etc. operating from Warehouses and/or City Logistics Centers, whose location should be appropriately determined when looking for optimal operations.
  • Freight carriers, i.e. transporters, warehouse companies, operating the fleets supplying the customer’s demand, whose optimal operation  requires the appropriate decisions on fleet sizes, types of vehicles, vehicle’s routes, and scheduling, dispatching and monitoring systems.
  • Residents, consumers and clients, in the urban area, located at specific points in the urban area, whose demands have to be supplied timely.
  • Administrators, at city levels in this context, who define the operational traffic and supply policies in the operational area.