Low-carbon urban freight demonstration projects

ICLEI’s “EcoLogistics: Low carbon freight for sustainable cities” project aims to increase the capacity of governmental and non-governmental actors to build strategies and policies to promote low carbon and sustainable urban freight in Argentina, Colombia and India, involving nine cities and regions. As part of the project, the following low-carbon urban freight demonstration projects have been identified.



Population: 1.31 million inhabitants (2015)
3rd largest city in Argentina


Santa Fe

Population: 522,200 inhabitants (2015)
Capital of the province of Santa Fe and ninth largest city in Argentina



Population: 1,446,201 inhabitants (as of 2019)
Capital of the Argentine province of the same name



Population: 8.08 million inhabitants (2017) for district
Capital of the country and largest city in the country


Valle de Aburrá

Population: 3.60 million inhabitants (including Medellín’s 2.43 million inhabitants) (2015)
Second largest metropolitan area in Colombia



Population: 398,800 inhabitants (2017)
Capital of the department of Caldas



Population: 2.12 million inhabitants (2011)
Largest city in the state of Keral



Population: 114,800 inhabitants (2011)
Capital and largest city in the state of Goa Panaji’s location on the bank of the Mandovi River estuary makes it an important logistics center



Population: 171,600 inhabitants (2011)
Capital and largest city of the state of Himachal Pradesh

Rosario, Argentina

Public cargo bike sharing for sustainable urban logistics

The proposed project consists of the implementation of a scalable pilot for a cargo bike system integrated into the city’s existing public bike sharing system, Mi bici tu bici. The project aims to incorporate 20 cargo bikes into the system with geo fences technology and the associated infrastructure for bike docking will be improved.

Through the project, awareness-raising activities, information survey and trainings will be conducted to further disseminate the EcoLogistics project outcomes, learnings and experiences. This pilot will provide a sustainable alternative for the transport of goods, and consequently reduce the number of conventional delivery vehicles used.

Bogotá D.C., Colombia

Implementation of consolidation centers in prioritized areas of Bogota using zero-emission vehicles for last-mile deliveries

This project aims to plan and implement consolidation centers in prioritized areas of Bogotá with the use of zero-emission vehicles and various operation schemes for last mile deliveries. 

The delivery of packages will be evaluated according to: the demand for package orders, the concentration of air pollutants and the articulation with other district initiatives. It is estimated that 15 low/zero-emission vehicles will be deployed, including 8 cargo bikes (2/3-wheel) and 7 light electric vehicles (subject to change). These vehicles would be used to replace light goods vehicles (with a gross vehicle weight less than 3.5 tons) for last-mile deliveries. Different operational schemes will be tested, by taking into account delivery time, the types of vehicles used, and will include various companies for package deliveries.

Kochi, India

Promoting low-emission 3-wheeler freight vehicles for last-mile deliveries in the Ernakulam Market

With the vision to promote low emission vehicles for freight distribution, the draft electric vehicles policy by the Government of Kerala envisages the target of 1,000 electric 3-wheeler (3-W) freight vehicles. However, there has been limited application of this policy due to various concerns related to the workability, suitability, performance, and operating costs of these vehicles amongst private sector actors. Moreover, there is limited evidence of real-time operations, financial viability and performance of electric 3 W freight vehicles in Kerala. 

In this context, the proposed demonstration project consists of operationalizing electric 3-W freight vehicles to validate the workability, financial viability and demonstrate the benefits of low emission freight vehicles for last-mile goods delivery. The demonstration project will introduce 20 electric 3-wheeler freight vehicles. Different variants (the vehicles shall differ in the form factor of loading space i.e pickup and delivery van) of electric 3 -W freight vehicles available in the market will be deployed and tested under the project to evaluate their performances and viability to scale up. As the capital cost of electric freight vehicles is substantially higher compared to internal combustion engine counterparts. The initiative will be launched on a pilot basis for the Ernakulam market (one of the most prominent and busiest trade markets) area.

Panaji, India

Promotion of Collaborative last mile delivery (load pulling) through electric freight vehicles

The EcoLogistics project highlights two critical bottlenecks related to urban freight in Panaji; a) Low load factor of 26 percent in low capacity vehicle (LCV) segment (with a gross vehicle weight between 0.5 Tonne to 3.5 Tonnes), b) Dependence on old polluting Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) based fleet of freight vehicles. As per the baseline, LCV and 2 Wheelers form over 95 percent of vehicle kilometers in Panaji.

The project will validate and demonstrate the workability, performance, techno-financial viability of the use of low emission electric freight vehicles, and the load pooling concept for urban freight deliveries. The operationalization of electric freight vehicles includes replacing ICE-based freight fleets. It will develop the case for the more rapid electrification of the urban freight fleet. Load pooling will encourage several distributors and traders (shippers) to pool load in a single multi-stop trip and help shippers and carriers (freight vehicle owners) to create optimal delivery outcomes. Pooling will increase the load factor of freight vehicles and thereby increase the efficiency by reducing the number of vehicular trips and delivery-related fuel consumption, as well as cut delivery costs thereby reducing congestion, and stress on limited parking spaces in core city areas.

Shimla, India

Sensitizing road users and freight operators through low cost interventions to manage freight movement

Shimla, is a major source of horticulture producer for many regions in the country and hence attracts large volumes of freight vehicles. The presence of agricultural markets in the city plays a significant role in generating economic activities but at the same time, it adds to unorganized parking on the roads, traffic congestion, etc. Owing to its hilly topography, Shimla faces substantial land constraints also, leading to scarce road infrastructure like the absence of parking spaces for passengers as well as freight vehicles. 

Therefore in order to reorganize the freight parking and create awareness amongst the freight operators about the importance of organized parking, two stretches (Cart road and Khalini chowk road) have been identified in consultation with Shimla Municipal Corporation, National Highway Authority of India, and Traffic Police Department of Shimla for implementing the proposed demonstration project. The demonstration project will facilitate the requirement of loading/ unloading activities on the identified road stretches by delineating spots for loading/ unloading in line with the existing restrictions imposed by the Traffic Police Department.

Manizales, Colombia

Regulation of loading and unloading operations in the city center and the Avenida Santander

The project aims to regulate the circulation of freight vehicles and improve the operational efficiency of urban freight transport in the city center as well as the Avenida Santander, which is one of the most important roads in the city. 

The project will identify the loading and unloading zones for specific time periods in the target areas, and define the possible routes and types of freight vehicles that can enter the city center. Through the project, GPS devices will be installed on the freight vehicles to gather information about when and where loading and unloading operations are carried out in the city, in order to optimize the delivery schedules and vehicle routing. The project is expected to reduce road conflicts between freight operators and other actors, reduce transportation costs of the logistics companies and improve the air quality.

Santa Fe, Argentina

Urban distribution center for Ciudad 30

The project aims to establish the first “urban distribution center” for load deconsolidation, improve the last mile logistics, while organizing and optimizing the loading and unloading in the Ciudad 30 area (the maximum speed is limited to 30 kilometers per hour). 

The project aims to use a semi-underground parking located at the Plaza Alberdi as an urban distribution center, which is designed to solve the last mile problem of urban freight while reducing vehicle miles traveled and associated environmental impacts. In Ciudad 30, large freight vehicles will be replaced with smaller and environmentally-friendly vehicles for the last mile distribution. Dedicated loading and unloading areas will also be built. In addition, digital technologies will be leveraged for the management of urban freight transport by placing parking sensors that will send real-time data to a mobile application. New traffic lights will be installed for better traffic management. The project will also use atmospheric sensors to measure and monitor the air pollutants in the Ciudad 30 area.

The Metropolitan Area of the Aburrá Valley, Colombia

TRT (Truck Rapid Transit) pilot project

The pilot aims to improve the sustainability of the logistics operations in the region, based on a dynamic traffic allocation scheme throughout the Aburrá River corridor.

Through the pilot, the left lane of the regional roadway in the multimodal corridor of the Aburrá River will be exclusively used by freight vehicles during the project period. This will be achieved through the dissemination of information to the users and the implementation of intelligent transportation system (ITS) devices. By giving priority to the freight traffic, the project facilitates the freight trips originating from, to, and through the Aburrá Valley, leading to improved air quality, reduced road accidents and traffic congestion, while improving the vehicle efficiency and fuel consumption.