More than 50% of city freight could shift from truck to bike

© April Streeter

The European Union is running a three-year project (ending next year) to try to move cities' freight deliveries from heavy, road-ripping, and dangerous and polluting freight trucks to lower-impact cargo bikes and delivery trikes. And the data coming in from 322 European cities seems to indicate that at least half of freight deliveries could be transferred to bike delivery!

Cycle Logistics, the EU project, is not just about data collection. But part of the goal for the task force was to use mobility data from the TEMS database and input from 322 different cities to create a baseline report that estimates how much private and commercial goods need to actually be moved by fuel-guzzling trucks.

Freight was considered 'bikeable' by the Cycle Logistics study team as long as the distance needed to move the freight was seven kilometers or less (4.6 miles); as long as the total payload was under 200 kilos (440 pounds); and finally, as long as the items to be moved weren't part of a complex travel chain.

The baseline report concludes that 51% of freight in Euro-cities could be moved by cargo bike - and not necessarily needing electric assist. As Johan Erlandsson notes on the ecoprofile blog, moving freight by truck uses at least 10 times more energy than moving it by bike.

Moving freight delivery to bike is also good news for city air quality and climate change control - while freight moving comprises only about 15 percent of all transport trips in a city, it makes up 30% of transport's energy consumption.

In addition, the Cycle Logistics team hypothesizes that 42% of private trips that involve cargo could be moved from car or truck to bike.

With all this potential, what is Cycle Logistics doing to get freight movers to move to the bike? First off, Cycle Logistics set up a federation to unite the cycle-based delivery services already underway in European cities, as well as to proselytize the type of bikes and systems that work best for city deliveries.

In addition, on the consumer side, Cycle Logistics is working with stores of all types to encourage them to provide some types of bike sharing for customers to get their purchases home without the need of a car. While IKEA has one of the most famous bike-based delivery options, forty French Intermarché supermarkets are trying out loaning bikes for home delivery in a service called Koursavelo. The Intermarché bikes have insulated shopping bags to allow consumers to keep groceries cold, and the bikes can be loaned for up to 48 hours.

More than 50% of city freight could shift from truck to bike
At least in Europe. An EU-wide study group called Cycle Logistics crunched the data and found we really only need half as many polluting and dangerous trucks in our cities.

Related Content on