Slow-moving traffic, long traffic jams and congested city centres: The inner-city traffic volume in major cities continues to grow. This not only leads to challenges for the logistics industry, for example in terms of delivery delays, but also causes more accidents and increasingly bad air quality. Traffic concepts in urban areas need improvements – but what exactly has to change and what can cities do about it?
Innovations to reduce urban truck traffic
There are several approaches to solving the challenge of urban logistics. Ideally the logistics industry needs more well-positioned logistic hubs and affordable transhipment and storage areas. Due to the rising competition of living and office space, large inner-city open spaces are becoming more and more rare. New real estate concepts, however, could solve this problem. High-rise buildings that have room for storage and logistics services underneath the actual living and commercial space can create more room for the logistics industry without taking up valuable living space in the city centres. Another solution for the ever-increasing problem are innovative delivery concepts. Goods get delivered to decentralized warehouses and from there robots or drones can do the last-mile delivery. In some German cities innovative bike-logistics companies such as Velogista and Rytle make a fast and emission-free last-mile delivery of packets possible. The cargo bikes can avoid traffic jams and don’t have to search for parking spot which frees up urban traffic and saves time.
A possible third solution are separate traffic lanes for freight transport. Or even better: The permitted use of the bus lane to not have to alter the city infrastructure.
The traffic situation within cities is impacted by the strongly growing e-commerce business and the therewith interconnected parcel delivery. Also in the normal road freight traffic, the so-called middle-mile delivery, improvements need to occur.
Urban logistics and city infrastructures reach their limits!
New urban logistics concepts to improve city life
The permanently increasing road traffic is not sufficiently taken into consideration during the city planning process. The traffic volume needs to be better regulated, to allow the following:
- More road safety: With better organized traffic in cities, accidents can be avoided.
- Cost savings: With a smooth traffic flow, traffic jams can be avoided, which ultimately saves time and money.
- Improvement of air quality: Light and heavy commercial vehicles produce almost 20% of the toxic nitrogen oxide emissions in German cities. With more network efficiency the air- and living quality in cities can be improved.
In light of the importance of the transport sector for the local economy, the freight traffic has to be prioritized over individual traffic. For cities, it is not a question of whether something has to change, but rather when and how it gets changed. It is up to every city, how they will deal with the problem, but better metropolitan logistics in the end benefit the economy as well as the urban residents. This attracts new residents and leads to greater wealth of the city.
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