What role for city authorities in last-mile logistics?

Last-mile logistics growth forecasts and looming pressures on urban environments have increased awareness and efforts to ensure that this growth evolves in more sustainable way. The European Commission’s Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy encourages large- and mid-sized cities to work on this transition. But will city authorities take action, and if so, how? An expert panel of 30+ logistics professionals, policymakers and researchers involved in European research project ULaaDS look ahead in blog 4 of our series: what role for city authorities in last-mile logistics?

What role for city authorities in last-mile logistics?
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

1 – City authorities to become (more) active in last-mile logistics

According to experts, local governments will have an active role in the transition towards sustainable urban logistics. Interestingly, this expectation is broadly shared among both public and private stakeholders. For frontrunner cities, this means continuing and intensifying the efforts already underway. But many other cities have yet to develop a more active stance. For instance, they have yet to formulate a clear vision and goals, build a stakeholder network, set-free capacity and develop in-house expertise on last-mile logistics.

2 – Multiple tools in the toolbox

Once „activated”, the question remains what types of policies cities will issue. According to the expert panel, this will mostly likely be a combination of restrictive measures (“tell us what we can’t do”) and facilitative measures (“help us realize what we can do”). The most obvious restrictive measures relate to transport mode types and restrictions on city access. For instance, access can be regulated through time windows, and cities can steer the sector towards using zero-emission (battery-electric or fuel cell) vehicles.

3 – Cities as active facilitators

Less of a role is envisioned for local governments in the domains of stakeholder cooperation and implementation of resources (such as storage, vehicles and unattended delivery technology). This is largely seen to be worked out by logistics players themselves. However, according to the panel, city authorities need to facilitate these developments by developing frameworks and thinking along with the sectors. For instance, to free-up the space needed for last-mile logistics on strategic urban locations.

This is our 4th and final blog on the trends likely to shape the future of last-mile logistics. Interested in reading more? See our trend report: ‘What’s in store for sustainable last-mile logistics’ here. Or read our previous blogs on (1) the future of last-mile transport, (2) parcel delivery models, and (3) types of operators.


Article originally hosted on LinkedIn here. For information on the European research project ULaaDS, visit ulaads.eu.


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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