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Urban Mobility Round Table – freight transport development to create safe, accessible and green cities

Urban Mobility is a thematic area within CLOSER. The focus for Urban Mobility is freight transport within urban mobility – but with a clear connection to passenger transport and the system perspective.

'Our work is a major collaboration between the business sector, academics and official organisations to develop sustainable freight transport and urban logistics so that we improve the living conditions in our cities,' says Lina Olsson, who is responsible for Urban Mobility at CLOSER.

Here is a description of what Urban Mobility is and involves:

What is the objective?
To work for safe, accessible and green cities. 

How does Urban Mobility work?
By addressing current trends and challenges in the following ways:

  • Integrating freight transport issues into urban planning.
  • Creating smart solutions that contribute to more efficient utilisation of infrastructure.
  • Developing and testing new types of services and business models.
  • Developing and testing vehicle solutions.
  • Identifying challenges in existing rules and regulations and working with standardisation.

Who are the participants?

  • Large and medium-sized cities: Stockholm, Gothenburg, Helsingborg, Örebro, Sundsvall, Malmö and Jönköping.
  • Freight carriers: DHL, DB Schenker, PostNord.
  • Vehicle manufacturers: AB Volvo and Scania.
  • Transport purchasers: Coop, Skanska, Swerock.
  • Industry organisations: the Swedish Confederation of Transport Enterprises, the Swedish Association for Road Transport Companies, the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions.
  • Experts from academics, institutions and consulting companies: Koucky & Partners, Sweco, Tyréns, Rise, WSP, VTI IVL, SSPA KTH, Chalmers, Linköping University, Lund Technical University, University of Borås, Luleå and Örebro Universities and the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg.

The Swedish Transport Administration and Vinnova are also involved with the work. 

How has Urban Mobility developed?
The activity commenced in 2012 with the SendSmart and Go:smart projects, which developed solutions for transport of freight and construction logistics and passenger transportation in cities.

In 2014, Urban Mobility was established as a national form when itineraries for city logistics were developed on behalf of the Forum for Transport Innovation.

The basis was the necessity of a national collaboration to improve the efficiency of transport to and within our cities.

CLOSER's round table within Urban Mobility – what is it?
It is a well-attended forum for discussions about our partners' challenges and needs for open dialogue and to generate ideas. The focus is freight transport within urban mobility – but with a clear connection to passenger transport and the system perspective.

Pernilla Sustovic from Volvo Technology is the chair of the Urban Mobility round table. She summarises Urban Mobility's work as follows: 

'We see a major need for smarter and greener transport within cities in step with urbanisation and increased amount of transport. Ultimately, this means contributing to improved quality of life and a sustainable world. We have representatives from the key players in Sweden's logistics chain and are working together for a sustainable future,' explains Pernilla. 

Robin Billsjö, freight strategist at the Traffic Administration Office in Stockholm City, is also a member of CLOSER's board. He adds,

'For the City of Stockholm, Urban Mobility is an important platform to meet with other participants in order to understand their perspective and to find common ground in freight-related challenges. CLOSER is there as a facilitator and, at the same time, keeps an eye open for announcements for projects which address the challenges. In this way, the threshold is lower for us as a city,' says Robin. 

How is Urban Mobility organised?
The activities are currently focussed on four main parts:

  • Urban development
  • Construction logistics
  • Safe and smart cities
  • Better utilisation of infrastructure

What are the activities like in the four main parts?

The DenCity project deals with how sustainable freight transport can contribute to urban development.

It creates innovative solutions for sustainable transportation of people and goods in dense urban areas with high demands on attractiveness, accessibility and sustainability. 

DenCity was founded in 2015 and the second phase of the project was completed in August 2018. Phase three was launched recently and will be completed in 2020. It involves five complementary concepts:  mobility as part of the rent, transport and delivery services, local joint loading, electrified freight and waste transport and freight and waste transport via urban waterways. 

DenCity is linked to Agenda 2030 for change for a sustainable society.

The EU project MIMIC focuses on smart solutions for construction logistics problems in our increasingly dense urban centres. A major portion of transport taking place in cities is carried out with construction vehicles. The prevalent urbanisation trend necessitates smarter, more efficient and sustainable transport solutions. MIMIC will develop concepts and tools for integration of construction logistics at an early stage in the agenda for urban development projects. 

MIMIC is a successor to the CIVIC project, which concluded during 2018 and dealt with improving transport efficiency and minimising disturbance from construction logistics in the development of new residential areas and infrastructure.

The Geofencing project is partly involved with work on developing safe and smart cities. Geofencing is a technology which, for example, enables urban zones that are free from noise pollution and emissions and that vehicles are automatically forced to maintain the appropriate speed. 

In May 2017, one month after the horrific act of terrorism on Drottninggatan in Stockholm, several participants within the automotive sector, the City of Stockholm and the City of Gothenburg agreed to combine forces to determine how the possibilities of digitalisation can be utilised to increase safety. The agreement was formalised as an administrative directive to the Swedish Transport Administration (link to press release on the final delivery from the administrative directive published 6/12, 11:15). 

The project Bypass Logistics is based on better utilisation of infrastructure by means of improving the efficiency of freight transport on approach and bypass routes in cities with congestion problems. Rush-hour delays cause increased costs and emissions. The project deals with prioritising commercial traffic and thereby generating socio-economic and commercial benefits. 

The EU project Nordic Way 2 contributes to the development and harmonisation of cloud-to-cloud communication to achieve a more efficient and safer transport system. Major efforts to digitalise road traffic, traffic signals, motorway systems and public transportation are currently in progress in Europe. Nordic Way 2 will prepare for implementation C-ITS services (Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems) by developing a digital infrastructure.