The Dutch city of Utrecht announces that the new Merwede-district will be car-free. The City of Amsterdam strives for a complete car-less city. Also international, cities go for car-free of car-less. But, if you don’t think about city logistics in advance, the sidewalks will soon be full of delivery vans. For the new-build district Merwede, local city logistics was included in the design phase.
Even in a car-free neighborhood of three thousand homes, six to ten delivery vans deliver four hundred packages every day. Add to that the 20 to 30 vehicles bringing e-groceries. Supermarkets, restaurants, and offices, in turn, receive between ten and twenty trucks every day. Don’t forget all the waste collectors and service vans of the plumber, heating engineer, painter, Miele repair guy, kitchen builder, and home care staff? And, in the evening another two to three hundred meal deliverers arrive.
You don’t see this in the beautiful artist impressions of project developers. There, you see a cute young couple holding hands, a grandfather on a bench, enjoying carefree children playing. And the sun always shines.
Hubs and enforcement
To keep the residential Merwede-district car-free, city logistics hubs for parking and distribution will be created. The district is ready for delivery with cargo bikes. Automatic number plate recognition and enforcement in the pedestrian zones ensure safe and pleasant living environments without bollards or expensive enforcement.
Residents and offices are supplied from centralized and indoor mobility hubs with parcel lockers or with delivery robots, cargo bikes, and light electric vehicles. These are smart solutions for the growing number of online B2C and b2B orders. Exceptions remain possible with temporary digital permits for emergency and special services, incidental large deliveries, garbage collection services, moving vans and construction and maintenance traffic.
The approach in Utrecht is an inspiration for other municipalities.
Walther Ploos van Amstel.