A pilot of an app for finding free parking places for city logistics, aiming to enhance distribution, reduce emissions and problems in city deliveries.
In the city centre of Helsinki, 40 % of light lorry drivers report that they have difficulties finding a place for loading and unloading, which causes costs, emissions and problems with air quality. In 21 % cases, drivers have to park on the sidewalk, which causes disturbance and insecurity for pedestrians. Parking issues are often a large ineffective factor in business operation.
The City of Helsinki, Forum Virium and 10 logistics companies have together developed an app for finding free parking places for city logistics. The aim is to find ways to enhance distribution. In the pilot, drivers can observe 22 parking places in city centre and see if they are vacant. Parking places are equipped with cameras and status information can be shared in real-time. For reporting, the program registers every stop lasting more than 3 minutes, and drivers are able to report causes for stopping. So the pilot also provides statistical data on distribution and traffic problems and generates a timeline showing temporal distribution of deliveries (day, month). A time reserving system is part of this pilot.
The pilot started in August 2016 and is ongoing in order to estimate the effects of seasons (winter). The main stakeholders are city, FV, logistics companies (Sinebrychoff, Hartwall, Esa Kuokka Oy, Schenker, Keslog, Kaukokiito, Van&Poika ja Enexus), technology providers Vediafi, (application), and Tieto (IT-platform).
City made installations. IT-programming and developing were voluntarily made by Vediafi and Tieto. Total budget was approximately 3000 €, including cameras (22). Ca 200 work hours were spent on installing cameras, developing and testing the application. Some costs for analysing images.
Evidence of success
The pilot has increased fluency and efficiency in logistics and deliveries. Costs have been lowered by savings in fuel, emissions decreased, air quality and road safety improved. It provides information for city planning about need for parking space and its utilization at different times. One goal is to keep the city center lively and the services nearby for residents, while also building an attractive city for businesses. Companies found private-public development of city logistics important.
Not every logistics and delivery companies are involved in the pilot. As the parking situations change very rapidly, parking places could have been reserved for other delivery cars and are not available after all.
Potential for learning or transfer
Within European Metropolitan Areas there are many cities with dense urban structure, narrow streets and a lot of delivery cars in city centre using pedestrian lanes. Finding a parking place can consume a significant share of drivers' working hours and causes delays in deliveries, which is not profitable for businesses. It also causes congestion, emissions, air quality problems, disturbance and insecurity for pedestrians.
Although there is a lot of experience in optimizing the logistics industry, accurate scheduling in urban conditions is not practicable. A real time information of delivery parking places helps logistics companies solve the problems in deliveries, helps optimizing them and improves productivity in urban environment. The more fluent traffic reduces congestions, emissions and accidents. The city centre is more functional and attractive for pedestrians and businesses.
The research data gained in pilot can be also generalized and used in other cities for city planning.
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