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International collaboration for smarter and greener urban logistics

City logistics
Better knowledge of the connection between the delivery of goods and households' consumption and travel patterns is one of the goals of the research collaboration. Photo: Astrid Bjørgen / SINTEF
SINTEF and NTNU will in collaboration with the University of Washington, the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers find new solutions for urban logistics, services for last-mile distribution, and how to integrate urban logistics into public planning processes and the planning of future cities.

City logistics refers to the transport of goods and services in cities and town, including the traditional transportation of goods, as well as craftsman services, home service, waste disposal etc. Relevant solutions can be goods distribution with cargo bikes, electric vans, vending machines, digital keys, consolidation centers, micro terminals and mobility stations. All solutions can make last-mile deliveries more efficient and environmentally friendly.

Collects groundbreaking work

The partnership Aurora Urban Freight was launched in 2020, bringing together groundbreaking work from leading research institutions in northern latitudes.

- The goal is to increase awareness around the importance of urban logistics, so that sustainable cities and local centers can be developed. Knowledge about the connection between goods delivery and households' shopping and travel patterns, lack of data on urban freight, and how freight and logistics can be incorporated into urban planning, are among the topics the parties will address in joint projects, says senior adviser Astrid Bjørgen in SINTEF. 

Through the Aurora collaboration, SINTEF and NTNU will have the opportunity to exchange knowledge with leading research communities in urban freight and logistics. The Urban Freight Lab at the University of Washington in Seattle is a strategic research collaboration between public municipalities and private actors, such as major product owners and transport companies, where urban areas are used as a laboratory to test solutions.

In addition, Aurora Urban Freight includes collaboration with the urban logistics network in Gothenburg, which consists of the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology, also involving industry partners through e.g. Volvo Research and Educational Foundation.

Knowledge and student exchange

Aurora Urban Freight will facilitate collaboration between Scandinavian and North American mobility researchers through research projects, joint conferences, and student exchanges.

- International cooperation in mobility and urban freight facilitate the exchange of ideas, research methods and tools that can be used to obtain better data and raise the level of knowledge. The Valle program at the University of Washington provides a unique opportunity for student exchange with Scandinavian countries, says Bjørgen.

This program can help students to get involved in projects that are supported by the universities and that are based on real world challenges. In light of the growing awareness around freight delivery and logistics challenges in cities and towns, NTNU will in collaboration with SINTEF and the knowledge environment in Gothenburg offer the post-qualifying education course Bylogistikk in the spring of 2021.

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