NOVELOG Barcelona workshop: New approaches to urban goods deliveries on-street and off-street

On January 19th 2017, the 4th NOVELOG city workshop, entitled “New approaches to urban goods deliveries on-street and off-street”, took place at the MediaTIC in Barcelona.

All presentations, pictures and the agenda can be downloaded at:

A total of 44 of the registered 47 participants attended the workshop. Adrià Gomila, Director of Mobility Services at Barcelona Municipality welcomed the delegates, commenting that the workshop was a splendid opportunity for the City of Barcelona to showcase to the most-innovative of the 9 actions within the part of the SUMP that deals with the challenges arising from city logistics.

Adrià Gomila, Director of Mobility Services at Barcelona Municipality (left) welcomes the delegates


Session 1: On-street Innovation

Simon Hayes (Global-Local-Projects) chaired the first session dedicated to on-street innovation. Carlos Morrillo and Maria Roman of B:SM jointly presented the “Overview on implementation of the On- street Delivery Space Regulation APP”. The second presentation, made by David Carpi of epim, concerned “An analysis of data generated by Barcelona’s AREADUM APP”. In the session introduction it was stated that Barcelona were appreciative of the Consortium’s help in realising the amendment that facilitated this analysis within NOVELOG’s project activities. The presentations showed the size of the data generated by the APP – (some 45,000 transactions each working day), and it was made evident that planning practitioners  coordinating SUMPs typically need technical support to manipulate and analyse new, large datasets.

One of the key questions raised (Georgia Ayfantopoulou, CERTH)was the degree to which the APP could be transferred to other cities. With some contents showing how the origins of the APP dated back to the 1980’s (the origins of parking regulation in the city) Gomila explained that the APP is a new system – but the rules  and regulations are the same as before (with the cardboard disc). He added that an important decision was  not to implement any sensor on-street – and that this approach favours up-take. Hayes pointed out that integral on-street management (including residents’ spaces) dates from the 2005 expansion of the AREA parking scheme.

Sergio Fernandez, EMT-Madrid, asked how the huge number of micro-companies of the transport sector (some 169,000 in Spain) had been managed. Morillo and Roman answered that the Mobility Pact involves stakeholders, and that this was the main instrument during the pilot and implementation. They noted that the validity of registrations is facilitated by the legal and administrative systems that support the AREA parking regulations. A second question from Fernandez asked about levels of indiscipline – prompting the answer that the number of spaces occupied by unauthorised vehicles (cars) had dropped from around one-third of the spaces (xamfrans are groups of 5 spaces located at the junctions in the Eixample grid) to 9%. Fernandez then asked about the duration of stay, and Morillo answered this explaining that users can programme an alert message (user decides number of minutes) for the number of minutes before the 30-minute stay expires, and that the system records those over-staying the regulated time.

Peter König (consultant from Graz, NOVELOG partner), reiterated the question about transferability and asked about figures of car ownership, mode split, etc. Hayes commented that a series of statistical data is available (currently in Spanish and Catalan) describing annual trends in “Basic Mobility Data”1. He added that Barcelona is a very densely-populated city as these and other figures will show. For city logistics, the main indicator has been the number of un/loading spaces – but maybe this will be enriched now the APP is producing new data.

Charlotte De Broux, Brussels Mobilité, commented that she had accompanied a Brussels freight vehicle driver during half a day and that they had only found an available un/loading space on one occasion. Answering her question about how easy is it to find a space, BSM again showed the figures showing more than one un/loading space available on average at each service area, commenting that B:SM is the agency responsible for enforcement (it has a fleet of over 50 tow-away trucks), and commented that the APP was developed iteratively responding to the feedback from the Pact and the city stakeholders to the data that the system generates. Gomila ended the session commenting that a video (in English) of the scheme had won the EPA prize and this was presented at the end of the workshop. For him, the actions that this platform facilitates is “just starting to take-off”.


Session 2: Off-street innovation

Jaume Roca (CENIT) chaired the second session dedicated to off-street innovation. Charlotte De Broux, Brussels Mobilité, gave a comprehensive report of “Experiences with deliveries consolidation & loading spaces in Brussels”. This gave an update on the experience gained in the LaMilo project (1000m2 UCC relocated further out to premises able to handle trans-shipments). Amongst other things, she gave a first information about how a service subsidy had been tendered to offer central area retailers some storage space and foot / cargo-bike delivery services whilst major works take place to enlarge the pedestrianized centre. A summary of the 36-action Strategic Plan for Freight in the Brussels Region is available in English.

Mar Escala of Mobility Services, Barcelona Municipality then presented “Micro-platform development in Barcelona”. This presentation showed how the Municipality has set-up to micro-platform pilots in NOVELOG, transforming the previous service subsidy pilot of the SMILE project into an off-street infrastructure initiative. Amongst other things she showed how the Municipality had searched land-sites and engaged Last-Mile (cargo-bike) Operators; she pointed out that Shared-box services were an option that the Municipality had wanted but which were not required by the LMOs. She showed some of the sponsorship initiatives vanAPEDAL had been able to secure – suggesting that this might help in other cities where sponsorship is easier to arrange (in Barcelona, for half-a-dozen cargo-bikes this is not yet achieved; the reference is a deal  for 6000 public bikes).

Josep Maria Saperas of ECOPOL then presented “El Ninot market micro-platform (LMO: ECOPOL)”, showing how the company, with a UCC based in Sabadell, had opted for last-mile solutions using micro-platforms based upon an analysis of package weights, and with a service trans-shipment twice a day (10.00h and 14.00h). This was followed by a presentation by David Soler of DOyMO consultants, presenting “First findings from NOVELOG pilots” concerning the El Ninot market micro-platform from June to December of 2016. The initial figures show a three-fold increase in packages handled as ECOPOL has increased the fleet at the micro-platform to handle increased volumes. Another KPI for Soler is the Effectiveness of Delivery ratio, which has increased over the initial months of operation as operators become familiar with the locality and optimize delivery options (on-foot, or various cargo-bikes). His presentation also pointed to the difficulty of using post codes to configure micro-platforms and service concessions.

Marisa Catalan of I2CAT then presented the pilot development of the Growsmarter (Lighthouse Smart City) project. “Growsmarter – adding municipal value to micro-distribution services” targets the integration of sensors able to monitor environmental conditions. She stated that she is looking forward to the pilot phase now that vanAPEDAL are installed at the Estació Franca micro-platform.

Sergio Fernandez, EMT-Madrid, asked Mar Escala whether a tender process had been followed to assign the LMOs to the two micro-platforms. She replied that it had been quite hard to find cargo-bike operators – ECOPOL is the second one at El Ninot Market (eMakers has ceased trading) – willing to operate under the conditions established for the pilot (see slide of presentation). Basically, there is an agreement lasting 12 months during which space is given free in return for data about the activity realised.

Fernandez then made reference to a similar IOT project in Madrid using sensors on buses to ask Marisa Catalan about the challenges of calibrating mobile sensors. Catalan gave details about product suppliers (Evalium…) and commented that tricycles had been selected primarily to gain access to pedestrianised areas but this decision has other advantages; it avoids the problem of pollutants from the carrier vehicle (unless the bus is electric) and minimises the challenge presented by the air flow of faster-moving vehicles.

Peter König (consultant from Graz, NOVELOG partner) asked De Broux about the tender for the hub serving the enlarged pedestrian centre (in Brussels). She replied that they had an offer but the name could not yet be published. Asked how many retailers accept the solutions provided she said this was what the project aimed to find out. Tanja Ballhorn (City of Copenhagen) commented that they had found reverse logistics services to be an important part of the value of cycle-logistics in her city.

Jaume Roca (CENIT) asked the LMOs of the Barcelona pilot how any pre-ordering of the packages prior to transfer at the micro-platform. The answer for ECOPOL is that this does not happen currently (just post codes) – and the LMO decides the route and timetable for the packages. Jordi Gali states that this is also the practice for vanAPEDAL at Estació Franca. Joan Mestres, POLServeis, answered additional questions from Roca; it tales three-quarters of an hour to program a delivery schedule.

Tanja Ballhorn (City of Copenhagen) asked about the business case for the El Ninot service. Saperas and Mestres answer that it is based on an overall calculation of bikes-plus-vans; 15 vehicles for the total activity. This appears to be similar to the approach of Brussels.

Pierre Eykerman, Renault, commented that a small electric 4-wheeler is available from Renault which could also be trialled by cities, and he invites delegates to view a video he has with him at the break.

It is commented that the subsidy of 90% for the Brussels new project is very high, and whether any thought has been given to retailer reaction if they will then have to pay to maintain the service. De Broux answers that the subsidy level varies according to market segment. Various comments are made about the costs of the last- mile part of goods delivery (between 15 and 21% of total costs in the case of Copenhagen) and about the lack of subsidy of the goods sector of urban mobility.

Jaume Roca (CENIT) asked about how would LMO’s handle a small number of deliveries if those were not enough to fill sufficiently a cargo bike. Ecopol answered that since they are a large company they can manage to handle the parcels using other more cost-efficient ways such as vans for deliveries. They don´t foresee offering a shared-box solution such as the one tested during the SMILE project.


Session 3: Guided visit to Estació França micro-platform

On the way to the micro-platform delegates passed the site at Lluis Companys where the previous platform had been located. The aesthetics improvement associated with not having an on-street module near a heritage monument (such as the Arc de Triomf) could be appreciated.

Once at the Estació França micro-platform, Hayes introduced Jordi Gali and Enric Gallifa, founding partners of vanAPEDAL.

Inside the micro-platform: view shows doors to the three smaller spaces

Enric Gallifa, vanAPEDAL explained the internal configuration of the micro-platform space:

  • A larger space mainly used for configuring the delivery-boxes (also battery recharging)
  • Three smaller spaces: e-bike repair and maintenance, changing room & office.

Jordi Gali then gave a short presentation about the development of vanAPEDAL as a company, and there was a final Question&Answer session.