Changing the tune of urban logistics

Changing the tune of urban logistics

06/21/2023 - 10:52

Cities are becoming more populated and congested, resulting in increasing difficulty to move goods around efficiently, this coupled with the efforts towards becoming more sustainable, city road networks are facing quite a conundrum. This is particularly true for last-mile delivery, which refers to the final leg of the delivery process. Last-mile delivery is often the most expensive and time-consuming part of delivery, and it requires a high degree of coordination and planning to ensure that goods are delivered on time and in good condition.
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To address these challenges, multiple stakeholders are turning to city logistics data to optimise their operations. By analysing data on traffic patterns, delivery routes and urban space use, logistics providers can identify ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs. For example, they may use predictive analytics to anticipate demand and adjust their delivery schedules accordingly, or they may use real-time traffic data and local urban access data to reroute deliveries around congestion.

This is where the ‘Physical Internet’ comes in, this is the interconnected digital network of physical infrastructure that facilitates the movement of goods and products. This network includes everything from roads and railways to ports and airports. The physical internet will rely heavily on city logistics data to function effectively. This data is critical for ensuring that goods can be moved efficiently within and between cities. The DISCO Horizon Europe  project serves as a testbed for several foundational tenets of the physical internet. DISCO is an acronym based on the full project title: Data-driven, Integrated, Syncromodal, Collaborative and Optimised urban freight meta model for a new generation of urban logistics and planning with data sharing at European Living Labs. DISCO aims to develop a new generation of data-driven urban logistics and smart planning through a Physical Internet led approach. DISCO is funded from the Horizon Europe programme, answering the HORIZON-CL5-2022-D6-02-02 call “Urban logistics and planning: anticipating urban freight generation and demand including digitalisation of urban freight”.

DISCO will run for 42 months starting from May 2023 and will be a culmination of efforts from 47 partners from all over the EU. The project is set to work with 8 Living Labs impacting the domains of shared solutions, connected logistics, smart logistics, urban network management, agile storage, and last mile distribution by developing and demonstrating the DISCO-X innovations:

  • DISCOCURB - Flexible curb side management
  • DISCOPROXI - Proximity based last mile solutions such as parcel lockers and microhubs.
  • DISCOLLECTION – Dynamic data collection and data techniques for enhancing urban logistics operations
  • DISCOBAY – Utilisation of unexploited space in multimodal transport facilities for creating multimodal consolidation centres
  • DISCOESTATE – Dynamic use of space in seasonally underutilised buildings

BUas will be at the helm of work package 5 as well as contributing to other work packages including work package 7 which focuses on policy. Work package 5 covers the twinning work package where 4 living labs in Barcelona, Zaragoza, Valencia and Padua, all along the Mediterranean region will be coordinated for the upscaling of the DISCO measures which will be demonstrated by their work package 4 predecessors. This will result in a report on the criteria required for other cities who would like to implement the DISCO innovations on a larger scale. The report will also lay the groundwork for how the physical internet could function by use of a data space which is a platform where private companies and governments can upload data for use in city logistics planning and the meting out of services such as mobile hubs, distribution centre warehouse bookings, transport planning as well as assisting municipalities with the development of sustainable urban logistics plans (SULP).