Mechelen’s meeting of minds - zero emissions & data
An overall Flemish framework is currently being designed for more sustainable urban logistics. During this most recent meeting, a representative of the Flemish Department of Mobility and Public Works presented the process and current progress on this subject. At the moment, results from earlier studies are being analyzed while a series of pilot projects are also being initiated with a view to forming transparent and uniform policy.
Theory – the framework
Case studies on zero-emission urban distribution in numerous ‘lighthouse’ cities form the learning basis for all urban centres. This preparatory research offers insight into how the distribution flows can be run and where these can be optimized. Following an analysis of how to upscale to a zero-emission fleet, final results should lead to a future-proof perspective with various levels of ambition –supported by policies to ensure these ambitions are attained.
Practice – pilot projects
Testing these urban logistic theories in practice is of great importance. Cities, municipalities and local businesses have the opportunity to implement their great ideas in a range of pilot projects. Within the context of SURFLOGH, Mechelen has tested many green alternatives for freight delivery in the city centre, including hubs, lockers, small electric vehicle sharing schemes and more. Besides inspiring other partners in the consortium, these research results serve as input for a framework agreement created by the Flemish government in close cooperation with municipalities and the logistics sector.
On signing the covenant in Mechelen, stakeholders agreed that data would provide more insight into the proposed ambition:
“In line with their zero emissions goals for 2030, the City of Mechelen will undertake the transition, allowing for the technical progression and availability of zero-emission vehicles:
- 2023: 20% of deliveries with zero-emission vehicles
- 2023: 50% of deliveries with zero-emission vehicles
- 2030: 100% of deliveries with zero-emission vehicles.”
However, data providing the right insights is not yet forthcoming, which leads to a number of questions:
- Which data gives the best indication of what we need?
- How can we collect this data?
- How far do the participating logistic parties want to go in terms of sharing data?
Joris Beckers, Professor of Economic Geography & City logistics at Antwerp University, presents facts and figures to the ZE Working Group
Data, CO2 calculation, conditions
Facilitated by Stefan Bottu of VIL (Flanders Innovation Cluster for Logistics ) and Joris Beckers, Antwerp University, the group were set to work to clarify their thoughts on data and envision an attainable approach. The highly interactive session revolved around two main issues:
- The specific data needed to calculate CO2 reduction and illustrate a lower impact from the logistics sector in urban environments.
- The terms on which logistics players freely contribute data to the city for this purpose.
While conclusions and next steps have yet to be formulated, it was encouraging to see how all parties actively contributed – without reticence for the sensitivities surrounding data sharing.
We'll keep you updated on developments!
Top photo: Presenting the Flemish Zero-Emissions Framework to the ZE Working Group