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Smart Urban Freight Conference - 12th June 2014

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Organised by NewRail & POLIS, the event took place on 12th June, in Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK.

This unique event brought together several European Research Projects and industry stakeholders to discuss the following common themes and topics:

  • Urban Logistics & Transport Operators
  • Low Emission Vehicle Technologies
  • Policy Initiatives & Business Models
  • Urban Logistics as a commercial opportunity

The day was a combination of micro-lectures, given by invited experts, and poster presentations, and provided an excellent dissemination and networking opportunity for anyone with an interest in Smart Urban Freight.

The full event write up, event posters and micro lectures presented at the conference are available to download here

Over 80 experts and professionals from all over Europe, working in freight logistics, convened in Newcastle for the first Smart Urban Freight Conference, on June 12, 2014. This was a  ground-breaking event, bringing together the major FP7 European projects in urban freight - Smartfusion, FREVUE, DELIVER, BESTFACT, SMARTSET and Straightsol - all concerned with the intelligent use of energy and the use of electric, or other low emission vehicles, for daily urban deliveries. 


The event was designed around four, themed micro-lectures and a poster session on methodologies and results from the six projects, followed by a round table session with expert feedback. Breakout sessions provided opportunities for networking with experts and peers.

Four expert speakers were invited to share their state-of-the-art experience on four "horizontal" themes:

Gary Walker of Clipper Logistics PLC, UK spoke on 'Urban logistics as a commercial opportunity';

Doug MacAndrew of Smith Electric Vehicles Europe Ltd, talked about  'Electric/ low emission vehicle technology & development'

Dr. Maria Lindholm, from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden dealt with the 'Relationship between urban logistics and transport operators'

Giuseppe Luppino, from the Institute for Transport and Logistics (ITL), Italy, gave his views on 'Policy initiatives and business models'.


The round table session collected expert feedback on the six projects and discussed how lessons learned can be transferred into other contexts.

Paulus Aditjandra (NewRail) presented the innovative Design Monitoring Framework process (DMF) adopted in the Smartfusion project, which generated much interest among the audience. The project took a tried and tested methodology, developed by the World Bank, to collect stakeholder feedback and design the project to best meet local user needs. Discussion surrounded how the value of this methodology might be transferred to other projects, cities, or stakeholder groups. On the same note, the "stakeholder cluster" - in the form of the Tyne & Wear Freight Quality Partnership - earned a positive response and questions were raised on how to support the forming of other such "clusters" elsewhere. 

Colin Smith, of Liberty electric cars, introduced the DELIVER project, which deals with the design of a freight vehicle adapted and suited to all urban environments, raising the issue of how to arrive at a specification that suits everyone and reach a critical mass to stimulate cost-effective production.

Following the FREVUE project presentation, Rob King (Outspoken! Delivery) asked about plans to develop software functionality to consolidate several Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) devices into one -and the BESTFACT project was able to help with this very need!

Experts and practitioners are most interested in ways to transfer best practice. The BESTFACT guide has already been downloaded a quarter of a million times and the BESTUFS good practice guide still gets an average 5,000 hits per month - 8 years after the end of the project! Valuable discussion was had around the need to also publish projects' less successful measures and failures, for many felt they could benefit, when starting out on a new project, from being able to take advice and learn from these.

 Two projects were keen to assess and share the different evaluation methodologies they have used to assess and quantify stakeholder interest, culminating in a Smartfusion representative attending a Straightsol meeting, the next day.

 The day was about interesting conversations and debates between people and the generation of ideas that will move us forward into the future. As well as project representatives, the event was attended by academics, consultants, engineers, city representatives and industrialists and was a coming together of experts, a renewing of contacts and an opportunity to forge new relationships to synthesise outcomes and to share and transfer knowledge. 


Sponsors who brought displays and literature to the event included ITS (UK); PIE mapping; Outspoken! Delivery; Tyne & Wear Freight Partnership; and the ETNA PLUS project. Since the event, we are delighted that the LaMiLo project has expressed an interest in knowledge sharing, with both the Smartfusion and SMARTSET projects.

 The urban mobility perspective within EU policy will continue to grow and, within that - due to the work of people at the event - city logistics and urban freight will continue to have the respect it deserves, given that 15% of all vehicles on the road are carrying freight.

Much support was shown for making this an annual event and discussions have already begun around when and where the next Smart Urban Freight Conference might be held - so watch this space! 


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eu flag Smartfusion is co-ordinated and managed by NewRail.

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Telephone: +44 (0)191 208 8573



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This Project is being funded by the European Commission, 
Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under Grant Agreement No. 285195