The last few kilometres in town the most expensive (they may represent up to 30 % of the total cost of transport) and difficult (uncertainty, stress for drivers, etc.) to transport enterprises. Moreover, the sustainable development of town centres is connected with the problems raised by deliveries (environmental impact, economic development, and working conditions).
To allow less disruptive loading and unloading operations in urban areas (less noise, lower emissions of noxious substances, fewer blind spot accidents, etc.), Flanders Logistics has provided an opportunity for Flemish cities and municipalities to participate in pilot projects, together with the distribution firms Colruyt and Delhaize. Eight cities accepted the offer to take part in the first Flemish “Piek” study.
In cooperation with the consultancy firms Traject and Acoustical Engineering, the Mobility – Safety – Road Management of BRRC carried out research for this study, commissioned by the Flemish public authorities. The object of this research was to investigate the social and business-economic feasibility of making deliveries to shops at fringe-of-day times (just before the morning peak an after the evening peak) with PIEK-certified equipment (i.e., equipment quieter than 65 dB(A) and in some cases even 60 dB(A))
A scientific team including a representative of BRRC was formed for the Belgian Science Policy Office. This team investigated whether overnight distribution is a feasible option for urban goods transport in Belgium. Various stakeholders were asked about the advantages and disadvantages to be expected from overnight distribution. The study comprised a European benchmark, a literature study, (Internet) questionnaires, and in-depth interviews. The legal aspects and social basis were considered, together with road safety, economic impact, and potential modal shift. Practical policy guidelines were defined.
The Mobility Division participates in the international thematic experts network BESTUFS, which aims at exchanging information, carrying out research and disseminating results in the field of urban goods transport. This network was initiated by the Directorate-General Energy and Transport of the European Commission. The various reports published by this network are available on www.bestufs.net.