A master thesis from the Royal Institute of Technology about three nordic cities: Managing freight as a city – decreasing climate change impact and reaching sustainable mobility

Climate change impose a major challenge to the world. About 23 % of the world’s energy-related CO2 emissions derive from transportation. Urban freight transport has been increasing because of a growing demand for goods. Cities need to manage freight transportation to decrease its climate change impact.

The purpose of this study is to investigate what the cities Gothenburg, Copenhagen, and Turku need in order to manage urban freight transport and what measures the cities have adapted to reduce the CO2 emissions deriving from urban freight transport. The study aims to reflect upon how the elements included in the practice of municipal freight transport management relate to the sustainable mobility paradigm and identify measures to decrease climate change impact and reach sustainable mobility.

Reasons for managing freight is to reduce environmental, negative social impacts and ensure good ease of passage

Social practice theory guided the analysis, where meanings, materials, and competences was searched for in the empirical material. Data was collected through a document analysis and interviews with employees at the cities’ administrations. The results showed that the reasons for managing freight is to reduce environmental and negative social impacts, ensure good ease of passage for freight transportation, strengthen the economy and create jobs, and avoid conflicting goals and find joint solutions. Needed materials are funding, guidelines, and personnel resources. Needed competences include taking a systems perspective, understanding the private sector, engaging in cooperation, seeking and managing funding, transport planning, and procurement and planning of the own municipal freight transportation.

To strengthen sustainable mobility, the inclusion of stakeholders when managing freight transport could be expanded

The need and behaviour that steers the freight transportation seem to be excluded from the freight transport management practice. This is the need for goods and its connected consumption behaviour. The cities’ adapted measures to reduce the climate change impact from freight transportation focus on technological and logistical improvements. The freight transport management practice includes features that are in line with the sustainable mobility paradigm as well as features that are not. To strengthen sustainable mobility, the inclusion of stakeholders when managing freight transport could be expanded to inhabitants and persons with competence in environmental and social aspects.