Smart City Logistics tool aims to help local authorities improve urban freight deliveries

An online tool has been developed to help local authorities explore sustainable urban freight scenarios for their city centres.

Smart City Logistics uses geographic information system technology to create an open source platform mapping a range of data including access restrictions, loading and unloading facilities, population, land use and carbon emissions.

It was developed as part of the Last Mile Logistics (LaMiLo) project by the Luxembourg Institute for Science and Technology with an aim to provide information to minimise congestion, CO2 and air and noise pollution from urban freight journeys.

Data is currently available for London, Brussels and Luxembourg with the developers looking to include Bergamo in Italy by the end of May. The tool can be developed for any town or urban environment, however, the maps’ availability would depend on the relevant town data being accessible.

Ian Short, chief executive, Institute for Sustainability, said: “The rise in online shopping trends has driven a dramatic increase in freight deliveries, urban transport of goods taking 20% to 25% of road occupancy. This inevitably impacts on traffic congestion, CO2 emissions and noise and air pollution levels. Finding solutions to manage the last mile of deliveries that work for businesses, consumers and the environment requires an integrated understanding of transport, environmental and socio-economic aspects to arrive at sustainable solutions.”

Using the Smart City Logistics platform, city planners can explore options for suitable locations for logistics facilities such as urban consolidation centres and use the results to inform future planning. Different scenarios can be modelled and compared to current operations to quantify potential savings in terms of road miles, congestion and air pollution.

In addition, the route selection feature identifies the shortest path for a delivery vehicle considering different parameters such as the weight load and access. This can help determine the optimum route for vehicles and help delivery companies save on fuel cost and manage time more efficiently as well as help manage traffic congestion. The platform also gives users the ability to test different potential scenarios based on future projections of number and type of vehicle, and see the variations in CO2 emissions compared to the current situation.

LaMiLo is an programme project part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.