Cleaner, more efficient ways to deliver goods in Europe's cities

Sep 13, 2013
Cleaner, more efficient ways to deliver goods in Europe's cities
Credit: Citylog/Citymove

Urban freight transport is a major contributor to traffic congestion in Europe's cities. This in turn slows down deliveries, leading to increased costs for freight transporters and longer wait times for their customers.

The EU is seeking solutions to reduce the problems caused by having too many delivery trucks on the road by funding research projects such as CITYMOVE ('City Multi-Role Optimised Vehicle') and CITYLOG ('Sustainability and Efficiency of City Logistics').

The projects, which work together to find a comprehensive solution, involved a consortium of Europe's leading freight vehicle companies and other key stakeholders. The projects were coordinated by FIAT Research Centre in Torino, Italy.

The CITYMOVE team developed and tested a versatile delivery vehicle more suited for deliveries in congested areas compared to the general purpose commercial trucks used today - resulting in safer, more efficient deliveries that result in less .

The team looked at the use of modular vehicles, with designs involving a chassis that can receive interchangeable load units or boxes, and an optimised structure best suited to narrow city streets. They focussed on improving safety and on reducing pollution, noise, and operating costs.

In parallel, CITYLOG developed logistics technologies to help companies deliver goods in cities more efficiently, while providing a better service and reducing energy use. The team aimed at reducing the number of trucks needed to deliver goods in urban areas.

The technologies included an optimised pre-trip planner which allows companies to organise daily deliveries on routes that take into account the traffic situation at any given time.

The CITYLOG team also developed a dynamic navigation system using a to correct a vehicle's route in real time to avoid unexpected traffic blockages. Digital maps with specific details on physical and legal access limits were created for the pre-trip planner and navigation system.

Included in the package is a parcel tracking component, which sends an SMS message to a recipient's mobile phone to when a delivery is about to be made.

CITYLOG also created prototypes of interoperable vehicles - mainly medium-heavy trucks and smaller distribution vans that can share and tranship containers. They developed the BentoBox system, made up of a modular pack station with removable trolleys. The system works like an additional urban hub, where deliveries are pooled, and distribution and collection are done more efficiently on a smaller scale.

For example one high-capacity truck working as a type of 'freight bus' could bring several loads at the same time close to a city centre. Smaller vans or cargo bikes would then make the last mile deliveries.

CITYLOG and CITYMOVE created prototypes of the vehicles and logistics solutions. CITYLOG successfully tested its prototypes in major cities, including Lyon, Berlin and Turin says Alessio Corongiu, the project's coordinator.

"The BentoBox concept is a new paradigm for the business-to-business and business-to-customer services, but we have also developed new vehicle technologies and innovative load units to enable loading and unloading functionalities and a new business model for last-mile delivery," says Corongiu.

CITYMOVE received EUR 3.3 million in funding from the EU and involved 15 partners in 6 different European countries. CITYLOG received around EUR 3.6 million from the EU and involved 20 partners from 6 European countries. The projects completed their work earlier this year.

Explore further: New open-source online maps provide details of urban supply chains

More information: CITYMOVE

CITYMOVE project factsheet


CITYLOG project factsheet

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Kick-starting Europe's electric vehicle industry

Aug 02, 2013

Electric vehicles (e-vehicles, or EVs) are set to play a key role in the future of urban mobility, reducing pollution, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels and saving drivers money. Although e-vehicles make up only a tiny ...

Recommended for you

Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US

14 hours ago

The White House Thursday announced a series of measures aimed at increasing solar energy production in the United States, particularly by encouraging the installation of solar panels in public spaces.

Tailored approach key to cookstove uptake

14 hours ago

Worldwide, programs aiming to give safe, efficient cooking stoves to people in developing countries haven't had complete success—and local research has looked into why.

Wireless power transfer achieved at five-meter distance

15 hours ago

The way electronic devices receive their power has changed tremendously over the past few decades, from wired to non-wired. Users today enjoy all kinds of wireless electronic gadgets including cell phones, ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

( —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Chronic inflammation linked to 'high-grade' prostate cancer

Men who show signs of chronic inflammation in non-cancerous prostate tissue may have nearly twice the risk of actually having prostate cancer than those with no inflammation, according to results of a new study led by researchers ...