Report: global best practices in improving urban freight efficieny

A new Pembina Institute report looks at municipal and industry-led initiatives and solutions to address urban freight challenges, that are done through a variety of stakeholder engagement and collaborative approaches. Pembina highlight best practices in freight management, including case studies from New York City, Toronto, Sweden and London, England.

The examples range from stakeholder forums to pilot projects and living labs that are testing on-the-ground solutions to improve the movement of goods, showing that while there’s no uniform approach to urban freight management, there are a growing number of emerging initiatives in response to these challenges.

Case studies

The case studies highlighted in this report are:

  • The European Commission’s City-VITAlity-Sustainability (CIVITAS) Initiative, a convening forum that brings together cities across Europe to design and test solutions around urban freight management.
  • The United Kingdom’s Freight Quality Partnerships, which brings together private and public sectors to address concerns about traffic congestion and other inefficiencies in the trucking industry.
  • The Freight Network in Gothenburg, Sweden, which brings together private transportation operators and public authorities to create a network for sharing ideas and to ensure the continuation of urban freight pilot actions.
  • New York City’s off-peak truck delivery pilot, created to help combat congestion, increase business competitiveness and improve air quality. Participating businesses switched their receiving hours to off-peak times, from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Toronto’s Pan/Parapan American Games off-peak delivery pilot, introduced to reduce traffic demands on highways in the GTA and key inter-city corridors during the games.
  • London, England’s Construction Logistics and Community Safety program, which addresses pedestrian and cycling fatalities from increased construction activity.Screen Shot 2017-04-26 at 07.53.53

Lessons learned

Based on the learnings from these case studies and past Pembina Institute reports they found that success factors for effective public/private partnerships include:

  • Strong leadership: strong management from the top, with clear strategy and objectives.
  • Dedicated staff and long-term commitments: building relationships take time and resources, and this needs to be considered in planning.
  • Early stakeholder engagement and ongoing representation: the key freight actors can be divided into four main groups: government and authorities, customers (e.g., retail and restaurants), shippers, and transport operators. Other indirect stakeholders (e.g., auto associations and business improvement areas (BIAs)) are also relevant, and should be at the table with industry and decision makers.
  • Stakeholder education: the appropriate time needs to be taken to meet with participants, so they understand the intended outcomes of the initiative and the role they play in its success.
  • A platform for stakeholders to identify problems and solutions, which then need to influence politicians and municipal governments to implement change.


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