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Freight Innovative Delivery in European Urban Spaces

The aim of the project is to provide a complementary set of vehicle solutions to support an innovative approach to the organisation of urban freight transport, in line with political strategies to safeguard the liveability of cities, while being compatible with efficient logistics. Urban freight delivery is both a contributor to and a victim of the growing congestion in urban areas, which exposes the population to noise, pollution and nuisance. The target of FIDEUS is to contribute to the economic livelihood of business and retail activities located in the city in a practical way, with policies oriented towards more sustainable mobility.

Tags: Multimodal


The growing traffic problems in cities also involve the urban supply chain, which is both a cause and a victim of such problems. If no measures are undertaken in the future, statistics show the risk of a continuous increase in traffic volumes that will be due in part to freight flows (about 20%). Such a situation affects the quality of life as well as the environment, and means a loss of efficiency for the freight transport itself.

Today’s solutions are often based on restrictive policies that include low emission zones, access control, road pricing or time limits for the logistic operations. It is only in the last few years that experimental initiatives have been going towards a positive approach, in which public authorities offer ad hoc facilities like freight villages or reserved lanes.

The 13 partners of the FIDEUS project, coordinated by Centro Ricerche FIAT and co-funded by the European Commission – DG Research, aim to develop a new approach for the freight delivery in urban space by proposing a family of vehicles with high performance, a reorganised logistic flow and a telematic tool for the logistics management.

The benefits expected are social (less congestion/environmental effects due to freight delivery) and economics (better efficiency in the operations). In terms of policy, the public authorities will have a greater degree of freedom in traffic control, with minimal effects on the operators.


FIDEUS proposes a new approach to the freight delivery through three types of actions:

  • the development of a complementary set of vehicles and equipment, specially conceived for undertaking urban deliveries and collection
  • the proposal of a new approach to the organisation of urban logistics, involving the coordinated use of different vehicle types, an innovative goods container and support systems to improve the management of delivery operations
  • the provision of tools and information, which will give practical support to city authorities in the planning and management of strategies for dealing with urban delivery traffic.

FIDEUS will be able to give a practical demonstration of the major features of a ‘clean’ logistics system which can:

  • implement an urban handling standard in terms of delivery and collection
  • provide a better level of control of urban delivery logistics
  • reduce the costs of transportation and distribution
  • enhance the quality of service (accuracy of deliveries, compliance with deadlines, etc.)
  • free up the urban delivery circuits and limit the level of congestion
  • make the best use of existing infrastructures, reducing the occupation of urban space
  • limit the nuisance and damage caused to the community and the environment
  • allow the city to be reclaimed by pedestrians.
Microvehicle transhipment to access pedestrian reserved areas
Microvehicle transhipment to access pedestrian reserved areas

Description of work

From a practical point of view, the FIDEUS project aims to develop a family of vehicles with high performance in terms of environmental impact reduction, noise level control and ergonomics. The basic idea is to exploit the different features of these vehicles to achieve an efficient logistic flow towards the cities. A specific strategy will be elaborated to move freight into city centres with fewer trips by medium-to-large vehicles, and to deliver the parcels using a micro-carrier that is able to circulate in pedestrian areas without any restriction. An alternative is a van with an ad hoc adaptation that could carry out deliveries in urban zones where low emissions and noise levels are mandatory.

This approach requires some cross-solutions to enhance and complete the capabilities of the proposed set of vehicles. For this purpose, FIDEUS has identified a multimode container to facilitate the freight handling and delivery, and a telematic system to manage the logistic flow. Obviously this extended package will adopt other practical measures, for example to achieve easy loading/unloading operations, to have transhipment areas or reserved lanes, to enable the vehicles to exchange data, to track the goods, etc.


Thirteen partners are involved in the FIDEUS project to design, develop and integrate all these solutions for a new approach to freight delivery. This challenge makes it essential to define an overall strategy to combine the use of each component and to exploit its specific features, so these offer benefits to the logistic chain. Technical solutions are not the only way to achieve sustainable urban logistics, but are tools to accept and collaborate with the policies in use in our cities. In this integrated approach, municipalities and public authorities can support the efforts made by the logistics operators by undertaking suitable backing measures, reserving, for instance, lanes at fixed times of day or creating transhipment areas in public spaces where the larger vehicles can unload their freight for consequent delivery in pedestrian areas with the Micro CUV.

The expected results therefore include the validation of the FIDEUS concepts, by demonstrating the feasibility, efficiency and sustainability of a freight flow based on the combined use of several platforms and co-operation between the players that make up the logistic chain in urban space.