Sustainability Framework for Assessing Urban Freight Transportation Measures

Open access


The salient scope of this paper is to enable the knowledge and understanding of urban freight transportation and provide guidance for implementing sustainable policies and measures in a city. To achieve this goal, an evaluation framework for city logistics policies and measures is developed, which demonstrates the complexity of urban freight transportation systems, through selected performance indicators, taking into account divergent stakeholders’ interests, conflicting business models and operations. Evaluation follows a hierarchical process; sustainability disciplines (economy and energy, environment, transportation and mobility, society), applicability enablers (policy and measure maturity, social acceptance and users’ uptake), multiple criteria and indicators, capturing the lifecycle impact of policies and measures and multiple stakeholders. Apart from the multicriteria context, the framework embeds methodologies, including, Impact Assessment, Social Cost Benefit Analysis, Transferability and Adaptability, and Risk Analysis. To demonstrate its applicability a case study is set for the City of Graz assessing the establishment of an Urban Consolidation Center. Results show that there is an overall improvement of 2.2% in the Logistics Sustainability Index when comparing before and after implementation cases of the Urban Consolidation Center.

1. Grimm, N.B., Faeth, S.H., Golubiewski, N.E., Redman, C.L., Wu, J., Bai, X. and Briggs, J.M. (2008). Global change and the ecology of cities. Science, 319(5864), 756-760. DOI: 10.1126/science.1150195.

2. United Nations. (2014). World urbanization prospects - The 2014 Revision Highlights. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York, US.

3. European Commission. (2014). Living well, within the limits of our planet. The New General Union Environment Action Programme to 2020.

4. European Commission. (2007). Green paper - Towards a new culture for urban mobility. COM(2007) 0551 final. European Commission, Brussels, Belgium.

5. European Commission. (2009). Action plan of urban mobility. European Communities, COM(2009) 490 final. Brussels, Belgium.

6. European Center for Government Transformation. (2015). Boosting innovation in cities to deliver better public services – A view from tomorrow’s leaders. College of Europe student case studies, Final report.

7. Figliozzi M.A. (2010). The impacts of congestion on commercial vehicle tour characteristics and costs. Transport. Res E-Log. 46(4), 496–506.

8. Russo, F. and Comi, A. (2012). City characteristics and urban goods movements: A way to environmental transportation system in a sustainable city. Procd. Soc. Behv. 39, 61–73. DOI:

9. European Commission. (2011). White paper - Roadmap to a single European transport area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system. European Commission, COM, 144 final. Brussels, Belgium.

10. Taniguchi, E. Thompson, R. and Yamada, T. (2003). Visions for city logistics. In 3rd International Conference on City Logistics, Madeira, Portugal, 1-16, 2003.

11. European Commission. (2006). Keep Europe moving - Sustainable mobility for our continent. COM 314 final. ISBN 92-79-02312-8. Luxemburg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.

12. Transportation Research Board. (2012). Guidebook for understanding urban goods movement. NCFRP Report 14, Washington, D.C.

13. European Commission. (2014) Work programme 2014-2015. Horizon 2020.

14. Patton, M.Q. (1987). How to use qualitative methods in evaluation. SAGE Publications Inc.

15. Graindorge, T. and Breuil, D. (2014). Evaluation of the urban freight transportation projects. In Transport Research Arena (TRA) 5th Conference: Transport Solutions from Research to Deployment, April 14-17, 2014, Paris, France.

16. Balm, S., Browne, M., Leonardi, J. and Quak, H. (2014). Developing an evaluation framework for innovative urban and interurban freight transport solutions. Procd. Soc. Behv., 125, 386-397.

17. CITYLOG. (2012). Sustainability and efficiency of city logistics. CITYLOG, Final Report.

18. ENCLOSE. (2014). Cross-evaluation of energy efficient, sustainable urban logistics measures in the ENCLOSE towns. Evaluation and Policy Tool. ENergy efficiency in City LOgistics Services for small and mid-sized European Historic Towns, Deliverable 5.1.

19. CIVITAS-MIRACLES. (2006). Multi-initiative for rationalised accessibility and clean liveable environments. Last Report Publishable.

20. BESTUFS. (2008). Quantification of urban freight transport effects II. Best Urban Freight Solutions, Deliverable 5.2.

21. BESTFACT. (2013). Recommendation and policy tools. Best practice factory for freight transport, Deliverable 3.1.

22. C-LIEGE. (2014). Clean last mile transport and logistics management for smart and efficient local governments in Europe. Towards clean urban freight transport, Final Report.

23. FREILOT. (2011). Evaluation methodology and plan urban. Freight Energy Efficiency Pilot, Deliverable 4.1.

24. CITYLAB. (2015). Definition of necessary indicators for evaluation. City Logistics in Living Laboratories, Deliverable 5.1.

25. Mitropoulos, L.K. and Prevedouros, P.D. (2013). Assessment of sustainability for transportation vehicle,” Transp. Res. Record: Journal of the Trans. Res. B., 2344, 88-97.

26. Mitropoulos, L.K., Prevedouros, P.D. and Nathanail, E.G. (2011). Life cycle assessment through a comprehensive sustainability framework: A case study of urban transportation vehicles. In XXIVth World Road Congress, September 26-30, 2011. Mexico City, Mexico.

27. Nathanail, E. and Papoutsis, K. (2013). Towards a sustainable urban freight transport and urban distribution. Journal of Traffic and Logistics Engineering, 1(1), 58-63.

28. Jeon, C.M., Amekudzi, A. and Guensler, R. (2008). Sustainability assessment at the transportation planning level: Performances and measures and indexes. In 87th Transportation Research Board Annual Conference. CD-ROM, January 13-17, 2008. Washington D.C.

29. Nathanail, E., Gogas, M. and Adamos, G. (2016). Smart interconnections and urban freight transport towards achieving sustainable city logistics. Transp. Res. Proc. 14, 983 – 992.

30. Cellura, M., Longo, S. and Mistretta, M. (2011).The energy and environmental impacts of Italian household consumptions: An input output approach. Renew Sus. Energ. Rev. 15(8), 3897-3908. DOI:

31. Rebitzer, G., Ekvall, T., Frischknecht, R., Hunkeler, D., Norris, G., Rydberg, T., Schmidt, W.P., Suh, S., Weidema, B.P. and Pennington, D.W. (2004). Life cycle assessment part 1: Framework, goal and scope definition, inventory analysis, and applications. Environ. Int. 30, 701-720. DOI: ttp://

32. Norris, G. (2001). Integrating life cycle cost analysis in LCA. Int. J Life Cycle Ass. 6(2), 118-120.

33. Kloepffer, W. (2008). Life cycle sustainability assessment of products. Int. J Life Cycle Ass. 13(2), 89–95.

34. Finkbeiner, M., Schau, M.S., Lehmann, A. and Traverso, M. (2010). Towards life cycle sustainability assessment. Sustainability, 2, 3309–3322.

35. Onat, N.C., Kucukvar, M. and Tatari, O. (2015). Conventional, hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric vehicles? State-based comparative carbon and energy footprint analysis in the United States. Appl. Energ. 150, 36-49.

36. NOVELOG. (2016). Understanding cities tool. New Cooperative Business Models and Guidance for Sustainable City Logistics, Deliverable D2.3.

37. Bąk, M. Costs and fees in transport. WUG, Gdańsk, 110, [in Polish].

38. European Commission. (2014). Update of the handbook on external costs of transport – Final report. RICARDO AEA.

39. Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission. (1999). Enterprise risk management – Integrated framework,” Standards Australia/Standards New Zealand, Risk Management. Standards Australia, AS/NZS 4360:1999. Retrieved December 15, 2015, from:

40. FERMA. (2002). A risk management standard. Federation of European Risk Management Associations,” 2002. Retrieved November 15, 2017, from:

41. Kiba-Janiak, M. (2016). Risk management in the field of urban freight transport. Transp. Res. Proc. 16, 165-178.

42. Donnelly, R. (2007). A hybrid microsimulation model of freight flows. In Taniguchi, E. and Thompson, R.G. (Ed.), City Logistics V, (pp. 235–246).Institute of City Logistics, Kyoto.

43. Valdivia, S., Ugaya, C., Hildenbrand, J., Traverso, M., Mazijn, B. and Sonnemann, G. (2013). Approach towards a life cycle sustainability assessment – Our contribution to Rio+20. Int. J. Life Cycle Ass. 18(9), 1673-1685. DOI: 10.1007/s11367-012-0529-1.

44. Allen, J., Browne, M., Woodburn, A. and Leonardi, J. (2012). The role of urban consolidation centers in sustainable freight transport. Transport Rev. 32(32), 473-490.

45. Santen, V. (2017). Towards more efficient logistics: Increasing load factor in a shipper’s road transport. Int. J. Logist. Manag., 28(2), 228-250.

46. Organization for economic Co-Operation and Development. (2008). Handbook on constructing composite indicators methodology and user guide. Retrieved June 30, 2017, from:

47. Nathanail, E., Adamos, G. and Gogas. M. (2017). A novel framework for assessing sustainable urban logistics. Transp. Res. Proc. 25C, 1036-1045.

48. Saaty, T.L. (2008). Decision making with the analytic hierarchy process. Int. J. Services Sciences, 1(1), 83–98.

Journal Information


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 233 233 24
PDF Downloads 142 142 19