According to the project coordinator, Jardar Andersen, from Norway’s Institute of Transport Economics, the demonstrations have focused on reducing the societal problems associated with freight transport, while also emphasising efficiency, business models and financial viability. “We will evaluate the environmental and financial impact of each of the demonstrated solutions, and focus on which solutions can be best implemented by other companies and in other cities across Europe and elsewhere,” he says.
Follow-up has been essential for the project. Andersen says that despite the rise in regulatory, technological and logistical measures in traffic management in recent decades, there is little systematic evaluation and assessment. “This lack of follow-up sets back the transfer of knowledge and the adoption of best practices. However, STRAIGHTSOL project helps by creating a new framework that gives a particular emphasis on understanding the roles and objectives of different stakeholder groups,” he explains.
Local support is also a crucial factor, and each demonstration was supported by a neighbourhood event where the local people were invited to talk about the demonstration – with their feedback being used in the final assessments.
The demonstrations themselves vary. For example, express parcel service provider TNT Express set up a mobile depot for the inner-city deliveries and pick-ups in Brussels: it was loaded at the TNT hub near the airport every morning and driven to a central location, while the final deliveries were carried out by dispatch riders on electric tricycles and small electric cars.
Outside Barcelona, DHL Supply Chain tested a new urban consolidation centre to improve the efficiency of the last mile network, which is the final leg of the journey. Charity Oxfam monitored fill rates of collection containers for better transport planning in the United Kingdom. In Thessaloniki, Kuehne+Nagel tracked incoming rail wagons with GPS devices for more predictable planning of urban deliveries, while in Oslo, GS1 Norway demonstrated last-mile information collection and sharing with common freight receipt facilities for more efficient deliveries to shopping centres.
In Lisbon, municipal parking company EMEL tested different technologies to manage and monitor street loading and unloading areas. Moreover, in Brussels, there is also a planned demonstration looking at the impact of night distribution.
Although the project is still ongoing, Andersen says “it has already revealed how cities benefit when they establish proper dialogue with the different stakeholders involved in urban deliveries, including municipalities, police, logistics service providers and receivers of goods.”