Shaping urban freight systems via a participatory approach to inform policy-making

In the upcoming era of new technologies, a transport system is expected to be ‘more sustainable,’ ‘safer,’ and ‘more efficient.’ However, to what extent is this true? Based on the results of a series of stakeholder engagement workshops, a paper by Paddeu Daniela and Paulus Teguh Aditjandra explores the vision of different stakeholders about urban freight of the future.

Despite the expected high impacts new technologies and future solutions might have on urban freight, the perception of the main stakeholders and their willingness to use these new forms of mobility are the key factor to a successful implementation of future sustainable urban distribution systems. A Participatory Approach was used to allow stakeholders to identify the problem and co-design a set of solutions. Potential impacts of innovative urban deliveries on the economy, environment, and society were analyzed. Methodology and results were then compared with those of a city stakeholder engagement workshop delivered in Newcastle upon-Tyne in 2014.

Stakeholders considered that an “engaging” and “easy to use” process was needed to facilitate the process and it encouraged participants to find solutions for a ‘common good.’ The participatory approach proposed in this process would support transport planners and policy-makers to design and implement a consistent policy framework for future sustainable urban freight systems.

Urban freight transport vision-making lies in its contribution to building institutional capacity with a focus on enhancing the ability of local stakeholders to improve their power to ‘make a difference’ in the qualities of the future of urban freight systems. On another note, ‘collaboration’ perhaps is the essential key catalyst alongside ‘consolidation’ and ‘coordination’ as city logistics best practices, to form a ‘3Cs’—dubbing the popular ‘3Ds: density, diversity and design’ concept in urban planning in addressing travel demand.

This research represents a step forward in supporting the ongoing and upcoming decision- and policy-making process and is highly relevant to the industry, society, and the environment since it considers a challenging emerging topic with a high impact on the three sectors.

Source: Paddeu, D., & Aditjandra, P. (2020). Shaping urban freight systems via a participatory approach to inform policy-making. Sustainability, 12(1), 441.

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