Sustainable Urban Freight and Logistics

Urban freight and logistics looks at the movement of goods made by light or heavy vehicles, as well as non-motorized transportation modes such as cargo bikes and rickshaws. It can be linked to different market sectors such as retail, waste, construction, road services, hotel, restaurant and catering industry, as well as express courier and post. Globally, transport accounts for 23% of total GHG emissions, of which 40% is contributed by freight transport. Heavy freight vehicles are also one of the world’s major sources of Particulate Matter (PM) emissions, impacting urban life both directly and indirectly [1].

In order to make the urban freight and logistics more sustainable, this solution works with stakeholder engagement methods, land-use planning, market-based regulatory mechanisms, and technical implementations to increase efficiency and enhance environmental sustainability in this field.

Motivation / Relevance

Urban freight is crucial to the prosperity and development of cities, relying on a well-organized transportation system to deliver resources and materials in a timely and efficient manner [3].  With rapidly increasing urbanization, enhanced information and communication technologies, and growing e-commerce, the growing challenges of urban freight simultaneously affect cities as well [2].

As a result of the interdependence between urban freight and urban transportation networks, cities are forced to respond to the increased environmental, social, and economic impacts associated with urban freight issues such as: Road congestion and inefficiency from large delivery trucks and inadequate loading/unloading space; Noise, GHG emissions, and air pollutants including CO2, NOx, and PM10, 2.5 [2]; Inefficient land use; Public health impacts from pollution and other quality of life issues; Traffic accidents [3].

To address these issues, city governments need to implement a wide array of partnerships, regulations, and other policy measures to expand open dialogue among urban freight stakeholders and enhance logistics efficiency within the city transport system.

Main impacts

Through a more holistic and integrated approach to managing urban freight, cities can achieve the following:

  • Reduced congestion
  • Improved air quality and quality of life
  • Reduced GHG emissions
  • Noise reduction 

Benefits and Co-Benefits

Properly implemented sustainable urban freight can yield the following benefits [2]:

Environmental Benefits:

  • Reduced congestion, decreasing GHG emissions, resulting in improved air quality


Economic Benefits:

  • More efficiency in freight deliveries and pick-ups
  • Less waste of resources, money, fuel, etc.
  • Increased economic activity in business districts as a result of less congestion


Social Benefits:

  • Improved public health and quality of life
  • Reduced traffic accidents
  • Reduced noise and visual intrusion