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Challenge / Goal

Cities are facing increased congestion partly due to the increment in goods delivery through e-commerce. The pedestrianisation of city centres in most European cities makes urban deliveries even more difficult, increasing noise, pollution and competition for space in these areas.Smarter deliveries cut traffic generated by increased online shopping and provide better information on delivery times, while the use of cleaner vehicles will help to reduce local emissions and noise.

Barcelona is one of the densiest cities in Europe with more than 1,6 million inhabitants in 100km² which leads to heavy traffic conditions. Approximately between 11,000 and 12,000 freight vehicles enter the city each day to perform delivery activities.These vehicles carry out around 40,000 loading and unloading operations (Analysis carried out at the from AreaDUM app), this accounts for 15% of city traffic and 40% of pollution. In some areas of the city such as Ciutat Vella (the old quarter of the city) strict regulations apply. Only in short time delivery windows vehicles are allowed to perform operations.

The objectives of the use case are to: introduce a more efficient and effective freight transport system in the city center by means of a urban distribution of goods platform; Analyze the administrative management of such a service; Analyze the business model of the service;  Analyze the reducion in CO2 due to the introduction of this service; Test a new sensoric system to track position of new vehicles and also to monitor pollutants and other environmental parameter using the bicycles of the service.


The solution consists of the installation of an urban consolidation centre (UCC) for the micro delivery of goods in a centrally located area of Barcelona.The UCC provides the necessary infrastructure to hand over the delivery of parcels and packages of several carriers to a single last-mile operator. The Last Mile Operator Vanapedal offers different services, the most relevant of which is the distribution of parcels and packages from other carriers to their final destination. Carriers bring these items to the microplatform which is conveniently located close to the city centre. These are then transferred to electric bicycles and tricycles. The last mile is then performed by drivers from Vanapedal following their established routes. Parking and access regulation do not apply to bicycles, so no delivery time window restrictions affect the distribution. 

By installing a multi-sensory wireless device, the batteries of the tricycle is not only used to supply power, but also to monitor several parameters such as temperature, luminosity, humidity, noise level, air pollution, and the position at which the measurements are taken t, so that it will be possible to map these parameters and monitor their variability during the full two years of the pilot project.This monitoring solution serves to:

  • Explore the feasibility of tracking environmental parameters in a mobile scenario using low-cost sensors to complement the information from the static environmental and pollution stations installed in specific places in the city.
  • Evaluate the environmental impact of the microdistribution of freight through the comparison of the pollution within the delivery area and outside it. Provide real-time tracking information on the tricycles’ journey, which can help optimise delivery routes and to improve the service and to make it more competitive for the last-mile operator.

The sensor in the tricycles also supports mobile (GPRS/UMTS) and WLAN communications to transmit the monitored information to a Smart City platform, where it is further processed and made available for the city services.

Currently, up to 9 bicycles are being used in daily operation. The company gathers all business information of their operations including the daily number of deliveries and pick-ups, the number of kilometres covered and the time needed to cover all routes. This information is being collected monthly and the first results of the analysis of this information have been made. During the first three months of operations, 23,000 journeys have been performed and an increase in the daily number has been noted.


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Time period

Implementation time: 1 to 2 years

    Main benefits

  • Improving traffic management

  • Increasing share of renewables

  • Reducing local air pollution

  • Enabling new business opportunities

  • Creating new jobs

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