How to reduce the growing traffic and air pollution in the city caused by online shopping? Could a network of urban distribution hubs combined with zero-emission vehicles for the last mile delivery be a solution?
In Barcelona, the Urban Distribution of Goods (UDG) has a considerable impact on environment and public health. The Urban Mobility Plan 2019-2024 assessed it was responsible for 40% of the city congestion and 20% of the city emissions . Reducing the impact of urban goods distribution is a pressing challenge for the city furthermore when e-commerce deliveries are expected to grow by +25% per year  .
The creation of urban distribution hubs for a last mile delivery of goods using zero-emission transportation fleets is a possible solution currently tested in Estació de França (Barcelona). But before considering a deployment at city-scale, its positive impact has to be proven and many questions remain unanswered: How many packages are sent daily to Barcelona? What type of packages are delivered? What is the origin and destination of each package? Would the implementation of distribution hubs have a positive impact on traffic and air pollution? If so, how many hubs should be created in Barcelona and where should they be located? To answer those questions, Ferrovial Servicios and Barcelona City Council teamed up with two local startups 300.000Km/s and Immense Simulations.
An appropriate distribution of 16 hubs in the city of Barcelona would absorb the volume of 15 million e-commerce deliveries entering the city every year. Combined with the implementation of zero-emission fleets for the last mile delivery of e-commerce packages, it would enable to reduce by at least 55% the trips done by polluting vehicles inside the city and up to 70% of emissions in the last mile delivery of e-commerce packages.
300.000KM/S is a professional firm of architects, urban planners and engineers that provides design, data analysis and consulting services for cities. They apply technology to architecture, city and territory and look for new ways of transforming the environment.
Immense Simulations delivers large-scale, reusable, highly detailed simulations of people, places and mobility systems that answer ‘what-if’ questions. They provide easy-to-use tools to public authorities and mobility companies to rapidly test different alternatives into reality giving them the necessary insights to make the best possible decisions.
SCOPE OF WORK
Characterise the demand for urban goods distribution in Barcelona: in other words, answer the question what type of packages enter the city and where do they go? Small shops, offices and/or e-commerce? Based on the data model that they built, 300.000Km/s assessed the number and localisations of distribution hubs throughout the city that would absorb the volume of e-commerce deliveries.
Evaluate the impact of different fleets' configurations for the last mile delivery of e-commerce packages: Immense Simulations used its simulation platform to evaluate the impact of different fleets’ configurations for the last mile delivery of e-commerce packages in two specific areas of Barcelona (Gràcia and Mercat del Ninot) on traffic density and air pollution.
This study opens a path to a deeper understanding of the impact of goods delivery in Barcelona. It validates the implementation of distribution hubs at city-scale as an effective solution to reduce traffic and pollution caused by e-commerce deliveries based on the existing available data and information.This participatory study between public administration and companies, provided the Mobility Department of Barcelona City Council with valuable information feeding their decision-making strategies into a possible pilot prior to city-scale implementation.
 Barcelona City Council, Urban Mobility Plan 2019-2024
 Ministerio de Fomento, Gobierno de España