Austroads has published a report summarising the work undertaken to develop a policy framework to enhance the productivity, safety and efficiency of urban freight movements.
It found that gains are likely to be from the cumulative effect of many initiatives rather than a single isolated 'silver bullet' solution.
The project reviewed international urban freight practices and identified a number of initiatives which could be relevant for Australasian urban freight operations.
Government and industry consultations identified seven categories of high priority initiatives:
- Better integration of freight in decision-making
More consistently considering freight in the early stages of decision making such as in land use planning and new ways of consulting with industry need to be explored.
- Port-rail container shuttle trains
Reducing the number of trucks on roads by providing rail alternatives for freight departing or entering through major ports and can improve efficiency, environmental performance and amenity.
- Routing and scheduling systems
Optimising delivery/pickup choice through best available network and fleet information supports improved planning, productivity and environmental performance.
- Extend HPFV/PBS routes
Reducing the number of trucks transiting through urban areas by extending the network of routes suitable to carry higher mass limit vehicles.
- Consolidation of deliveries
Reducing the number of vehicles entering urban areas without full loads through the provision of urban consolidation centres or freight terminals can improve efficiency and reduce environmental impact.
- Enhanced management of loading zones
Better managing loading zones to reduce illegal practices, congestion and lost time in inner-city areas and optimise use through technology such as intelligent parking booking systems.
- Traffic signal scheduling to better meet truck performance
Reducing the need for trucks to stop can improve productivity, safety and fuel consumption.
The report recommends an implementation plan highlighting lead organisations for each prioritised initiative, indicative time frames and relative cost.