- Original Paper
- Open Access
Plan for sustainable urban logistics – comparing between Scandinavian and UK practices
© The Author(s) 2017
- Received: 23 December 2016
- Accepted: 9 October 2017
- Published: 18 October 2017
Common practices in current urban logistics planning in Scandinavia and the UK, and the degree to which SUTP (Sustainable Urban Transport Plan), SUMP (Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans) and SULP (Sustainable Urban Logistics Plans) guidelines are used, are examined in this paper.
A systematic literature review identifies relevant studies based on predefined inclusion criteria: mobility, freight, urban, plan.
It is found that urban freight plans are used more frequently in the UK than in the Scandinavian countries. SULPs (freight strategies, action plans or parts of a mobility plan) follow a structure that identifies the current situation and defines the strategic context, vision, targets and objectives using selected policy measures, measures that are dependent on geographical scope.
Urban freight plans are designed with a sustainability perspective to define visions and policy measures for urban freight. SUTP, SUMP and SULP methodologies are used in existing Scandinavian and UK urban freight plans, especially when a collaborative planning approach is being practiced. The emphasis on urban freight is challenged by the regional perspective. Integrating urban freight in general planning procedures or transport planning is important. Government guidance and sustainable strategies can provide a planning methodology and, therefore, based on national guidelines further European structural standardisation could be beneficial. Identification of freight plans is crucial if the contributions they make are to be determined.
- Urban freight
- Freight plans
- Urban development
- City planning
A lack of focus and strategy on urban logistics, and only a few cities with someone in authority responsible for urban logistics.
A lack of coordination among actors involved in urban logistics, and in many cases insufficient dialogue between city authorities and the private actors who operate there.
A lack of data and information, which makes it difficult to improve operational efficiency and long-term planning.
Within transport planning and sustainable cities, the focus has traditionally been on public transport and car-use, with little attention given to freight transport issues . To improve urban freight planning, the European Commission  has emphasised that urban logistics planning should be one of the components of a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP), one goal of which is to improve the accessibility of urban areas and provide high-quality, sustainable mobility and freight transport to, through and within the urban area . Additionally, the EU has stated that urban freight plans should present measures to deal with the efficiency of urban logistics, including urban freight delivery, while also reducing the related externalities of greenhouse gas emissions and noise. Thus, the concept of a Sustainable Urban Logistics Plan (SULP) was launched to cover the logistics component of a SUMP . Following this increased attention to SULPs in cities and the growing number of research initiatives, there is a need to identify the current state-of-the-practice of SULPs and freight-related SUMPs.
Because urban freight is considered a private complex matter, a lack of planning methodology and various stakeholders and re-election constraints, policy-making is viewed as a challenge to local bureaucrats [5, 6]. Today, public planning procedures rarely include the perspectives of all private sector stakeholders (such as logistics operators and other types of business), rendering policies relatively uncoordinated and inefficient [7, 8]. Thus, a more systematic approach, e.g. SULP, is needed locally to improve the situation and cope with the challenges now facing many cities . In contributing to this, the purpose of our paper is to compare, first, between Scandinavia and the UK to identify common urban freight planning practices in current urban freight plans and, second, the degree to which the SUTP, SUMP, SULP guidelines are used in urban freight plans. Structured comparison of existing freight plans might provide an increased common understanding of the operationalisation of the SULP concept, thus ensuring further development in the same direction. In addition, identifying current urban freight planning practices can contribute to efficient planning and management of urban freight in making cities more attractive [9, 10].
Very few reviews of urban freight planning have been identified . Those that exist focus on stakeholder perceptions rather than plan content or they assess freight plans in one, or only a few, cities rather than with the comparative Scandinavian and UK perspective which this review aims to provide [6, 11–13]. The work was undertaken as part of a national research project (NORSULP – Sustainable Urban Logistics Plans in Norway) aiming to help the largest cities in Norway develop sustainable urban logistics plans. NORSULP will contribute to improved mobility for all users of urban transport infrastructure and urban mobility systems .
The remainder of this study is structured as follows. Existing European guidelines for urban freight planning are described in Section 2, the research methodology in Section 3, and the results in section 4. Finally, based on the review, common features are discussed in section 5, with the main findings concluded in section 6.
Despite local authorities being the decision-making bodies on urban freight policies, regulations and plans, European guidelines aim at a theoretical planning methodology or policy support document on how urban freight measures should be developed and implemented . These are often a result of European projects within urban mobility, e.g. ENCLOSE [15, 16]. The main ones are: (i) Sustainable Urban Transport Plans (SUTP) [17, 18], (ii) Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMP)  and, (iii) Sustainable Urban Logistics Plans (SULP) .
Status analysis and scenario development
Vision, objectives and targets
Action and budget plan
Assessment of responsibilities and resources
Monitoring and evaluation .
Defining the potential, development process and scope of the plan
Analysing the mobility situation, developing scenarios and visions
Setting priorities/targets and developing effective packages of measures
Clarifying responsibilities, allocating budgets and building into the plan systems for monitoring and assessment .
In addition, the Poly-SUMP methodology advises on matters for polycentric cities arising from SUMP methodology: (i) prepare well by understanding your region; (ii) create common ground and vision; and (iii) use the outcomes and elaborate the plan . This indicates a common understanding of SUMP methodology.
Analysis of the logistics baseline and scenario development
Setting the vision, objective and targets/priorities
Identification of policy measures impacts and service design – organisation, business model and contracting
Assignment of responsibilities and arranging for implementation of a roadmap and monitoring plan.
Since this review is concerned with the current practice in urban logistics plans, the selected criteria systematically limit the conceptual framework and scope of the study . The search to identify city plans, public documents and reports was completed between January and September 2016 and actioned through the Google Scholar and Google search engines. The scope of the article is limited to Scandinavia and the UK, where several urban freight plans are identified. It is valuable to compare Scandinavia with UK since they are organised similarly but UK is considered relatively more advanced when it comes to urban freight initiatives . Comparisons are made across the Scandinavian countries, which share a common history and have developed relatively similar political, economic and social systems . The review separates between: (i) regional and (ii) local and city level urban freight plans. The regional level are freight plans, which among other freight transport issues, includes sections on urban freight. These plans are implemented and/or developed in a county, metropolitan area or region. Local and city level freight plans focus explicitly on urban freight issues and are implemented and/or developed by a municipality or local district i.e. borough or city.2 Logistics, or city/urban logistics, is seen as the system or strategy ensuring efficient urban freight movements, while urban freight is the transportation of goods in an urban area. The review focuses on goods distribution in an urban area or region compared to a rural area; hence the concept ‘freight’ is applied [29, 30].
A sustainable urban freight plan is a strategic plan with a detailed action plan or part of an urban mobility/city strategy. It is designed with a sustainability perspective on urban deliveries to define regional or local visions specified by selected policy measures and to satisfy the freight needs of people and business in the area. The urban freight plans identified have not yet fully embraced the concept of a Sustainable Urban Logistics Plan. However, sustainability is an important focus in the plans, with some country-specific differences in regard to emphasis on economic growth, environmental protection and social equity.
When developing urban freight plans, and like the SUTP, SUMP, SULP methodologies, a collaboration approach is practised in urban freight planning. Important considerations when developing freight plans are integrated transport planning and weighting of the regional perspectives against an urban/city perspective.
Governmental guidance is important in providing goals and a methodology for urban freight planning. In this paper it is found that national guidance is applied more often than European guidance, although the European methodologies are not without value. Both structural and organisational elements of the European SUTP, SUMP and SULP methodology are essential components of the existing Scandinavian and UK urban freight plans.
Steps towards increasing the development of these freight plans include incorporating freight-related issues in local transport planning together with walking and biking, and providing or improving national guidance for urban freight planning. Continued analysis of the success or failure of the urban freight plans and the identified policy measures are needed. By comparing multiple or evaluating one individual plan in more detail it will be possible to consider the impact of an urban freight plan, which so far has rarely been done.
These are just a selection of SUMP-related EU projects. For more projects on this topic, visit http://www.eltis.org/mobility-plans.
The London Freight Plan is the exception since it focuses on urban freight issues but implemented within a metropolitan area.
Required by the Transport Act 2008.
Other documents are, for example, ‘Scottish Government Transportation Noise Action Plan’  and ‘National Planning Policy Framework’ , ‘Tactran Regional Transport Strategy’  and ‘Local Development Management Strategy’ .
This work is undertaken as part of the research project NORSULP (Sustainable Urban Logistics Plans in Norway), financed by the Research Council of Norway and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration. Further information is available from www.norsulp.no (in Norwegian only).
Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
- European Commission (2013) A call to action on urban logistics. Commission Staff Working Document SWD (2013) 524 finalGoogle Scholar
- Lindholm M, Blinge M (2014) Assessing knowledge and awareness of the sustainable urban freight transport among Swedish local authority policy planners. Transp Policy 32:124–131View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- European Commission (2013) A concept for sustainable urban mobility plans, Annex to the Communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee of the Regions. COM 913 finalGoogle Scholar
- Ambrosino G (2014) Sustainable urban logistics plan (SULP): the experience of IEE ENCLOSE project in small and mid-sized European historic towns. Madrid, SpainGoogle Scholar
- Gatta V, Marcucci E (2016) Stakeholder-specific data acquisition and urban freight policy evaluation: evidence, implications and new suggestions. Transp Rev 36(5):585–609View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Lindholm M, Behrends S (2012) Challenges in urban freight transport planning—a review in the Baltic sea region. J Transp Geogr 22:129–136View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Lindholm M (2010) A sustainable perspective on urban freight transport: factors affecting local authorities in the planning procedures. Proc Soc Behav Sci 2(3):6205–6216MathSciNetView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Cherrett T, Allen J, McLeod F, Maynard S, Hickford M, Browne M (2012) Understanding urban freight activity – key issues for freight planning. J Transp Geogr 24:22–32View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Quak H, Tavasszy L (2011) Customized solutions for sustainable city logistics: the viability of urban freight consolidation centres. In: van Nunen JAEE, Huijbregts P, Rietveld P (eds) Transitions towards sustainable mobility. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg, pp 213–233View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Cui J, Dodson J, Hall PV (2015) Planning for urban freight transport: an overview. Transp Rev 35(5):583–598View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Lindholm M, Behrends S (2010) A holistic approach to challenges in urban freight transport planning. 12th WCTR July 11–15 2010 – Lisbon PortugalGoogle Scholar
- Morfoulaki M, Mikiki F, Kotoula N, Myrovali G (2015) Integrating city logistics into urban mobility policies. 7th Int Congr Transp Res 1–14Google Scholar
- Oguztimur S, Canci M (2011) Urban logistics in master plan and a review on İstanbul master plan. European Regional Science Association, ERSA conference paper ersa11p830Google Scholar
- NORSULP (2016) Sustainable urban logistics plans in Norway. Institute of Transport Economics. https://www.toi.no/logistikkplaner-i-by-norsulp/category1667.html. Accessed 11 Oct 2016
- ENCLOSE (2015) Guidelines. Developing and implementing a sustainable urban logistics plans. ENCLOSEGoogle Scholar
- Stockholms stad (2014) The Stockholm Freight Plan 2014–2017: an initiative for safe, clean and effective freight deliveries. Stockhoms stadGoogle Scholar
- Van Uytven A (2016) Sustainable Urban Transport Planning (SUTP). Eltis the urban mobility observatory. http://www.eltis.org/discover/case-studies/sustainable-urban-transport-planning-sutp. Accessed 18 Sept 2016
- European Communities (2007) Sustainable urban transport plans. Preparatory document in relation to the follow-up of the thematic strategy on the urban environment. Technical report 2007/018. European Communities, LuxembourgGoogle Scholar
- Wefering F, Rupprecht S, Böhler-Baedeker S (2014) Guidelines. Developing and implementing a sustainable urban mobility plan. European platform on sustainable urban mobility plansGoogle Scholar
- Lindholm M (2010) A sustainable perspective on urban freight transport: Factors affecting local authorities in the planning procedures. Proc Soc Behav Sci 2(3):6205–6216MathSciNetView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Wolfram M (2004) Expert working group on sustainable urban transport plans. Rupprecht Consult, CologneGoogle Scholar
- European Commission (2013) A concept for sustainable urban mobility plans. Together towards competitive and resource-efficient urban mobility. European Commission, COM 913Google Scholar
- Adell E, Ljungberg C (2014) The poly-SUMP methodology. How to develop a sustainable urban mobility plan for a polycentric region. European Platform on Sustainable Urban Mobility PlansGoogle Scholar
- Petticrew M, Roberts H (2006) Systematic reviews in the social sciences: a practical guide. Blackwell PubGoogle Scholar
- Gough D, Oliver S, Thomas J (2013) Learning from research: systematic reviews for informing policy decisions - a quick guideGoogle Scholar
- Uman LS (2011) Systematic reviews and meta-analyses. J Can Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 20(1):57–59Google Scholar
- Ballantyne EEF, Lindholm M, Whiteing A (2013) A comparative study of urban freight transport planning: addressing stakeholder needs. J Transp Geogr 32:93–101View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Harrison J, Hoyler M (2015) Megaregions: globalization’s new urban form? Edward Elgar Pub, CheltenhamView ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Lindholm M (2012) Enabling sustainable development of urban freight from a local authority perspective. Dissertation, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, GothenburgGoogle Scholar
- Rodrigue J-P (2017) The geography of transport systems, Fourth edn. Routledge, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Västra Götalandsregionen (2016) Godstransportstrategi för Västra Götaland. Västra GötalandsregionenGoogle Scholar
- Västra Götalandsregionen (2016) Godstransportstrategi för Västra Götaland. Handlingsplan. Västra GötalandsregionenGoogle Scholar
- Northamptonshire County Council (2013) Northamptonshire road freight strategy. Northamptonshire County CouncilGoogle Scholar
- Surrey County Council (2011) Surrey transport plan: freight strategy. Surrey County CouncilGoogle Scholar
- Staffordshire City Council (2011) Staffordshire local transport plan 2011: Staffordshire freight strategy. Staffordshire City CouncilGoogle Scholar
- Somerset County Council (2011) Transport policies - freight strategy. Somerset County CouncilGoogle Scholar
- Kent County Council (2012) Freight action plan for Kent 2012–2016. Kent County CouncilGoogle Scholar
- West Midlands Metropolitan County (2013) West Midlands Metropolitan Freight Strategy 2030. Supporting our Economy; Tackling Carbon. West Midlands Metropolitan CountyGoogle Scholar
- Merseyside Local Transport Plan Support Unit (2011) The third local transport plan for merseyside. Freight strategy. Merseyside Local Transport Plan Support UnitGoogle Scholar
- Transport for South Hampshire (2008) A freight strategy for urban south Hampshire. Transport for South Hampshire, South HampshireGoogle Scholar
- Transport for London (2007) London freight plan sustainable freight distribution: a plan for London. Transport for London, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Transportministeriet (2011) Effektiv godstransport i byerne. Transportministeriet, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
- Bergen kommune (2003) Varedistribusjon i Bergen sentrum. Bergen kommune, NorwayGoogle Scholar
- Malmö stads: Gatukontoret (2013) Godstrafikprogram för Malmö 2014–2020. Malmö stadsGoogle Scholar
- Bedford Borough (2010) Bedford’s freight strategy (2011–2021). Bedford BoroughGoogle Scholar
- West Berkshire Council (2014) West Berkshire Local Transport Plan. Freight Strategy. West Berkshire CouncilGoogle Scholar
- Aberdeen City Council (2015) Aberdeen city centre sustainable urban mobility plan. AECOM LimitedGoogle Scholar
- Aberdeen City Council (2016) The Aberdeen city local transport strategy (LTS) 2016–2021. Aberdeen City Council, AberdeenGoogle Scholar
- Aberdeen City Council (2016) Sustainable urban mobility plan. Aberdeen City Council. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/sump/. Accessed 03 Oct 2016
- North East Scotland Freight Forum (2014) Nestrans Freight Action Plan 2014. North East Scotland Freight ForumGoogle Scholar
- Dundee City Council (2014) Sustainable urban logistics plan for Dundee. Dundee City CouncilGoogle Scholar
- Cave S, Rehfisch A, Smith L, Winter G (2013) Comparison of the planning system in the four UK countries. Inter-Parliamentary Research and Information Network (IPRIN), Northen Ireland, 082–13Google Scholar
- Headicar P (2009) Transport policy and planning in Great Britain. RoutledgeGoogle Scholar
- City of Stockholm Traffic Administration (2012) Stockholm urban mobility strategy. The City of StockholmGoogle Scholar
- Malmö stad (2016) Sustainable urban mobility plan. Creating a More Accessible Malmö. Malmö stad, MalmöGoogle Scholar
- South East of Scotland Transport Partnership (2010) Freight Study & Action Plan. South East of Scotland Transport PartnershGoogle Scholar
- Department for Communities and Local Government (2015) Plain English guide to the planning system. Department for Communities and Local Government, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Lindholm M (2014) Färdplan Citylogistik - Godstransporter i urbana områden. Forum för innovation inom transportsektorn. CLOSER-report. CLOSERGoogle Scholar
- Department for Transport (2007) Local authority freight management guide. Department for Transport, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Department for Transport (2009) Guidance on local transport plans. Department for Transport, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Department for Transport (2008) Delivering a sustainable transport system: the logistics perspective. Department for Transport, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Department for Transport (2011) Creating growth, cutting carbon. Making sustainable local transport happen - White Paper. Department for Transport, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Scottish Government (2014) Transport noise action plan. Environmental Noise Directive, ScotlandGoogle Scholar
- Department for Communities and Local Government (2012) National planning policy framework. Department for Communities and Local Government, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Tayside and Central Scotland Transport Partnership (2008) TACTRAN Regional Transport Strategy 2008–2012. Tayside and Central Scotland Transport Partnership, Angus, Dundee City, Perth and Kinross, StirlingGoogle Scholar
- Central Bedfordshire Council (2009) Core strategy and development management policies. Central Bedfordshire Council, Central BedfordshireGoogle Scholar
- Dalton RJ (2014) Citizen politics: public opinion and political parties in advanced industrial democracies, 6th edn. CQ Press Sage Publications Inc., Los AngelesGoogle Scholar
- National Cooperative Freight Research Program (2015) Improving freight system performance in metropolitan areas: a planning guide. USA, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
- Brundtland GH (1987) Our common future: the world commission on environment and development. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
- Behrends S, Lindholm M, Woxenius J (2008) The impact of urban freight transport: a definition of sustainability from an actor’s perspective. Transp Plan Technol 31(6):693–713View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Department for Transport (2008) Delivering a sustainable transport system: main report. Department for Transport, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Browne M, Allen J, Attassy M (2007) Comparing freight transport strategies and measures in London and Paris. Int J Logist 10(3):205–219View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Stathopoulos A, Valeri E, Marcucci E (2012) Stakeholder reactions to urban freight policy innovation. J Transp Geogr 22:34–45View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Lindenau M, Böhler-Baedeker S (2014) Citizen and stakeholder involvement: a precondition for sustainable urban mobility. Transp Res Proc 4:347–360View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- May AD, Kelly C, Shepherd S (2006) The principles of integration in urban transport strategies. Transp Policy 13(4):319–327View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Browne M, Allen J, Nemoto T, Patier D, Visser J (2012) Reducing social and environmental impacts of urban freight transport: a review of some major cities. Proc Soc Behav Sci 39:19–33View ArticleGoogle Scholar
- Quak H (2011) Urban freight transport: the challenge of sustainability. Edward Elgar Publishing, ChaptersGoogle Scholar
- Great Minster House Department for Transport (2004) Long term process and impact evaluation of DfT’s local transport plans policy. Department for Transport, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Department for Transport (2005) Long term process and impact evaluation of the local transport plan policy. Department for Transport, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Department for Transport (2007) Review of future options for local transport planning in England. Department for TransportGoogle Scholar
- CH4LLENGE (2016) Monitoring and evaluation. Assessing the impact of measures and evaluation mobility planning processes. European Platform on Sustainable Urban Mobility PlansGoogle Scholar