Why to plan and implement a Sustainable Urban Logistics Plan?

The Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) is a “strategic plan designed to satisfy the mobility needs of people and businesses in cities and their surroundings for a better quality of life. It builds on existing planning practices and takes due consideration of integration, participation, and evaluation principles” (ELTIS 2013).

Although the SUMP in principle addresses the issue of efficient and effective distribution of goods in the cities, there are no concrete guidelines on how this can be achieved. The complexity of organizing the urban freight distribution is driven by the vast range of activities resulting from relationships among a variety of actors with different and often conflicting needs and goals and by a number of negative environmental and social effects like congestion, air and noise pollution, and safety. This makes it difficult for a policy planner to propose standard measures that could be suitable for different urban contexts as well as to develop a common understanding about future expectations.

In parallel, the science and practice of UFT and city logistics has been developing, introducing novel solutions to address issues caused by UFT traffic. The NOVELOG project is filling the gap in current SUMPs approach by suggesting specific guidelines on how a local authority could incorporate also UFT measures and policies in their sustainable mobility planning. These guidelines taken separately can be described as a Sustainable Urban Logistics Plan (SULP). The SULP is defined mirroring the SUMP definition as a “holistic planning strategy for urban freight that ensures efficient and sustainable logistics operations within urban areas.” (Fossheim and Andersen 2017). The development of the SULP also mirrors the development of the SUMP, except that special focus is given to movement of freight and the use of UFT solutions.

Overview of the NOVELOG SULP Guidelines

NOVELOG project implemented common planning procedures in a variety of cities using same methods and planning supporting tools which were developed by the project and were made available to the cities.

The SUMP development cycle remains valid when considering plan formulation for city logistics. However, it is recognized that some of these steps are difficult to be performed for Urban Freight Transport due to lack of knowledge and access to information, limited capacity of Local authorities and high problem complexity caused by the multiple industrial stakeholders and their fragmented operational environment. In this context and depending of the process difficulty it was found necessary to change the content of a step, merge or skip steps and provide set of methods and techniques for supporting planning process step implementation.

In the following Figure the adapted for city logistics SUMP planning cycle is presented, as concluded by NOVELOG activities. The proposed changes concern Phase I and II of the well-known ELTIS cycle since the approach was focused on alleviating obstacles of the process and facilitate local authorities in integrating UFT measures in the city’s SUMP.

Therefore, the proposed by the project techniques methods and tools concern the first six steps of the typical SUMP process.


It is recommended that the SULP process is implemented separately of the SUMP procedure and it starts after the definition of the overall sustainable mobility vision of the city. In this way the city approach for sustainable distribution and service trips that will result from the SULP development process will be in line to SUMP vision and will focus on serving the general objectives set for the city sustainability.

Guidelines for each SULP Step

The first six steps of a SULP process listed below and presented in the abovementioned Figure should be followed.

  • Step 1: Determination of the city’s potential for a successful urban freight planning process.
  • Step 2: Definition of the development process and scope of the plan.
  • Step 3: Analysis of the city’s current UFT situation
  • Step 4: Development of a common vision & future improvement scenarios
  • Step 5: Setting priorities and measurable targets
  • Step 6: Development of effective package of measures


The yellow pages support the cities in incorporating UFT solutions in their SUMs through a preliminary set of web implementation guidelines and providing answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

Find below the FAQ and Novelog experience and feel free to express your opinion on the relevance and acceptance of Novelog answer by rating the question based on your experience and knowledge.

Funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Programme for Research and Innovation under grant agreement No 636626

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