Smart City Logistics: innovative mapping platform for urban freight planning

Luxembourg Institute for Science and Technology (LIST) has introduced Smart City Logistics, a decision support mapping software tool to help local authorities and urban planners tackle the complex challenge of urban freight transportation. Developed as part of the Last Mile Logistics (LaMiLo) project led by the Institute for Sustainability, the tool provides online information to help minimise congestion, CO2, and air and noise pollution in the city when developing sustainable freight plans.

Using Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, Smart City Logistics is an open source platform mapping a range of useful data on transportation networks, access restrictions, traffic measures, delivery and transport facilities, districts, population, land use and carbon emissions. Currently, the tool gathers data relevant to urban freight deliveries across the whole of three European capital cities: London, Brussels and Luxembourg.

Ian Short, Chief Executive, Institute for Sustainability comments: "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[1]. 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.

Based on the results, planners will be able to identify innovative and sustainable solutions to help streamline delivery activity and create sustainable urban logistics systems for a smarter city. Furthermore, with published maps freely available, users can add their own data, creating new layers of data and extend knowledge sharing to other cities.

LaMiLo is an INTERREG NWE IVB programme project part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

[1] Statistics available in the 'Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area' 2011, adopted by the European Commission (2011)

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