The Business Models in Action research is ready
One of the key lessons learned from the first phase of the Surflogh project was the importance of policy interventions and actions in creating a conducive business environment in order to facilitate green last mile logistics in a commercial sense. The Surflogh Business Model Canvas recognized this importance and hence the policy element was included in the overall framework.
Assessing policy framework
As part of the 18-month SURFLOFGH extension, SEStran and Edinburgh Napier University TRI were consequently tasked with assessing the policy framework in each of the partner cities. The team agreed to use the business model insights gained from previous cases to develop innovation pilots and attempt to establish a relationship between the (commercial) success of these initiatives and the prevailing policy framework.
Dr Jonathan Cowie, lecturer in Transport Economics and programme leader of the MSc in Transport Planning and Engineering at Napier, has presented this research at a number of international conferences on sustainable transport and logistics. He describes the approach taken: “We carried out an extensive literature review on the role and effectiveness of policy in the area of urban freight transport (UFT) and then complemented this by constructing a theoretical framework based on a city’s level of UFT policy ‘maturity’. Then we held a series of in-depth interviews with the SURFLOGH partners, applying the framework to each partner city.”
Dr Jonathan Cowie of Edinburgh Napier University TRI
Results & ratings
The results showed that all partner cities had medium to low levels of UFT policy maturity. Groningen scored the highest (rated at a medium level, termed ‘policy focus’), and Edinburgh the lowest (low maturity, termed ‘pure market’). “The success of the pilots was evaluated through a Delphi panel workshop where the rating criteria to be used was discussed and agreed, immediately followed up with face-to-face interviews with each pilot sponsor,” Dr Cowie continues.
Policy maturity & actions
According to Jonathan the results show no association between UFT policy maturity and the success of the pilot. "This strongly suggests that at lower levels of policy maturity, the success of any freight-related policy initiative is more likely to depend on situational factors outside the policy environment. As a consequence, the instigation of meaningful policy actions possibly only start at high levels of UFT policy maturity, specifically identified in the research as levels four (policy aspirant) and five (pro-active)."
Interested in reading more? You can access the full report here.