Urban logistics innovation in the mid-sized historical city of Lucca (Italy)

By News Editor / Updated: 22 May 2015

The Centre for Eco-Friendly City Freight Distribution (CEDM) in Lucca represents a scheme of integrated actions whose goal is the implementation of a number of measures – regulatory, organisational, operational and technological – to enable the realisation and operation of a new city logistics system.

Background & Objectives

Given the relevance of the problem for the quality and development of the economic context, the city of Lucca decided to invest in a comprehensive sustainable mobility scheme for achieving significant reductions in traffic-related energy consumption, emissions of noxious gases and noise, and thus preserving its historical and tourist assets. This has been done through specific regulatory initiatives, telematics infrastructures, improvement of quality of public transport and city logistics processes under environmental preservation constraints.


Approximately 1,500 shops, retail points and commercial activities are located in the core area of city (i.e. the historical centre and its immediate surrounding) and constitute main destinations of freight flows travelling in the area. About 700 commercial vehicles were counted to enter the area each day. More than a quarter (27%) of business located in the area used their own vehicles. Generally, freight transport was carried out in very fragmented loads and capacity usage was less than 30%.


For these reasons, the City Administration started to investigate new solutions with the aim of rationalising the entire distribution system (fewer journeys, better use of available delivery capacity, etc.) and reducing the impacts and externalities of traffic flows in the area.



The key operational concept behind CEDM (Centre for Eco-Friendly City Freight Distribution) is based on a City Distribution Terminal as a main infrastructure to support rationalised, eco and business-efficient urban distribution. CEDM measures are integrated in the broader context of mobility and transport measures and consist of the following key items:

  • adoption of restrictions to regulate freight deliveries in the historical centre (time slots for different types of goods, minimum load factor, electrical vehicles for final deliveries);
  • cooperation among freight operators to cover last mile city distribution (e.g. load consolidation, transhipment at freight transit points, etc.) meeting access requirements and economic efficiency;
  • implementation of innovative delivery concepts including goods consignment via dedicated collect points (i.e. the CEDM Pack Station) to be used directly by citizens and tourists;
  • efficient management of reverse logistics.


The results achieved so far are relevant since they offer a good reference especially for small and mid-sized historic city centres. The>quality and efficiency of the service as well as customer satisfaction, energy consumption and CO2 emissions, impacts on the urban environment, service efficiency and social-economic aspects are monitored by periodic surveys. Results highlighted a very good acceptance of the eco-friendly services provided by the CEDM platform showing that they are preferred to the traditional service with diesel vehicles.


The activity of the CEDM platform, now integrated into the service "Luccaport", is constantly increasing both in terms of volumes of transported goods and the number of completed deliveries. New market share is constantly being gained and the expected target of 80% of all deliveries in the target area seems to be an achievable result by the end of 2013.


The freight traffic flow reduction following the CEDM start-up and the use of ecofriendly vehicles led to the reduction of the polluting emissions (both atmospheric and acoustic) in the urban area and, as a consequence, to the enhancement of the quality of life of residents, workers and tourists within Lucca historical centre.


In particular, the Italian Energy Agency ENEA, in charge of evaluating the environmental impacts of the CEDM actions, has shown the results referred to two possible scenarios. The less restrictive scenario foresees that the CEDM “system” will acquire in the future a market share leading to a reduction of about 1/3rd of freight vehicles circulating the historical centre. The second scenario, more restrictive, implies a reduction of about 2/3rds of not eco-friendly freight vehicles circulating in the historical centre. The evaluation of the CEDM actions shows the following emission reductions, depending on scenario: CO-reduction: 34 to 79%; PM-reduction: 38 to 76%; NOx-reduction: 39 to 75%; VOC-reduction: 22 to 86%.



The experience gained in Lucca shows that an integrated and innovative approach to urban logistics can contribute to reducing the negative effects of logistic processes on the environment and to sustaining the overall management of goods and people mobility in urban areas. In order to be successful, the design of the actions must address all of the different aspects related to urban management including institutional and regulatory aspects; mobility policies; political and social aspects; issues relating to consensus building by all the stakeholders involved; the management of business and operational processes; and finally organisational, technological and infrastructural issues.


The experience of Lucca proves that with attentive and long sighted efforts, local authorities with a zest for efficiency and reality can reach goals above their expectations.


For further information: http://www.luccaport.it

Urban freight/city logistics
Giuseppe Galli
Giuseppe Galli
Alternative fuel vehicles
regulations (weight
loading time
urban consolidation centres
PDF icon lucca_presentation.pdf2.91 MB
01 Oct 2012
22 May 2015