A joint goods hub for small deliveries to shops in central Gothenburg shows it’s possible to slash levels of goods traffic. The approach uses digital systems and coordinates heavy trucks and cargo bikes.
Urban logistics contributes to problems such as traffic congestion and inner-city air pollution. But efficient logistics transportation is essential for an attractive city. So in 2019 Volvo Group launched an interesting project involving collaboration between industry, universities and society to develop and test a ‘system of systems’ in Gothenburg to reduce the level of delivery traffic to the inner-city area.
Trucks almost half-empty
The project was inspired by a study that revealed a large proportion of trucks delivering goods to the city centre do not carry a full load, and that approximately 90 percent of truck traffic accounted for just one-third of the goods entering the city centre. The aim of the project is to change this by trialling coordination solutions to ensure trucks are more fully loaded. To test and demonstrate solutions, the project has established a living lab in which solutions will be gradually implemented, creating an open platform for more innovation and start-ups.
Last-mile transport using electric vehicles
The project partners are developing a solution to improve both the environment and traffic flows in metropolitan areas. The physical structure includes multi-modal transportation using long/regional haulage to urban consolidation centres. From these centres, the consolidated goods are transported to a city hub using electric trucks with increased fill rates. Finally, the last-mile delivery from the city hub will use electric microvans and cargo bikes. The result is more efficient transport with a lower environmental impact and fewer traffic jams. Additional benefits are lower logistics costs and more secure deliveries to city centres.
Possible reduction by 40%
A preliminary study indicated that the number of vehicle journeys to the city centre could be cut by at least 40 percent, accompanied by a 75 percent reduction in fossil-fuel vehicles for goods delivery in the inner city.
A broad range of participating organisations
Besides Volvo Group, the project has many participants from both the public and the private sectors; IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, the RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, the Gothenburg Urban Transport Administration, Nordstans Samfällighet, GLC, Best Transport, DHL, Velove, Pling Transport, and the Swedish Transport Administration.