Freight distribution in urban areas: A method to select the most important loading and unloading areas and a survey tool to investigate related demand patterns, is now published in open access mode, at the European Transport Review, Special Issue “Highlights of the Transport Research Arena conference”, derived from SUITS research work.

Cities all around the world are observing increasing levels of urban freight activities owing to the growth of internet shopping combined to the traditional distribution to shops, creating additional problems in terms of congestions and environmental impacts. This study, developed within the European Project SUITS framework, aims at showing how Local Authorities can effectively observe freight flows from the demand side. This led to the design, implementation and testing of a spatial cluster analysis approach to understand which are the most important loading/unloading parking spots in an urban setting by processing the GPS traces of a fleet of logistic vehicles. Later field activities should focus on these important areas to maximize the efficiency of the survey. A survey of retailers and shops in such areas to observe delivering activities is then proposed. The whole process,namely the spatial analysis and the field survey, was then tested to the real case of an Italian city (Turin) to assess the potentiality of the methods. The methodology proposed can give useful insights to Local Authorities on a way of monitoring the freight distribution patterns at the more disaggregated individual loading/unloading area.