Co-modality: Could it mitigate the freight load in Sydney?
Almost all deliveries into cities are undertaken by trucks and vans. With cities undergoing change, this method of urban middle- and last-mile delivery contributes to growing issues around city congestion. This congestion has grown in the last few years due to the growth in only shopping, a method of shopping that has seen a large uptick in the last 18 months due to COVID-19. Not only is it growth of online shopping but also about the increasing expectations of same day service that puts more vehicles on the roads.
But might there be another way of moving deliveries into and around cities that could lessen the congestion on their streets? Since February 2020 Transport for NSW and researchers from the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies at the University of Sydney have been looking into the use of Sydney’s public transport to achieve this result, in our Co-modality: Making use of public transport to carry freight project. Now completed, the project’s final report is now available, and is downloadable below.
What is co-modality
From the final report’s executive summary:
In an era with an ever-increasing demand and challenging service levels, planners and logisticians are consistently looking for initiatives for the safe, efficient, and reliable movement of goods into cities. A city’s demand for goods is largely satisfied by road. However, these conventional delivery methods can contribute to congestion, disamenity and environmental impacts felt in cities. As a result of these concerns, this investigation has explored the use of public transport as an alternative channel for freight to, from and within cities. This approach is known as co-modality.
Project scope and methods
As part of the project, the research conducted a review of co-modality in use in Britain, Germany, Japan, India, USA, Canada, and France using rail, light rail, and buses, along with the lessons learnt in those various jurisdictions.
But the focus of the project was the possibilities and potential of using co-modality in Sydney. During the project, workshops were held, in which researchers spoke to public transport service operators and logistics business stakeholders. Also in attendance were Transport for NSW staff with expertise in infrastructure management, network operations management, network strategy, freight operations, human factors, security and safety, place making, and innovation.
Feedback from this event, and these people resulted in the detailed analyses presented in the final report.
All of this is inside the 53-page report, including answers to these questions:
- Can the public transport network accommodate freight movement?
- Where is the greatest opportunity for co-modality?
- How might freight be moved efficiently?
- What is the market potential for co-modality?
- Are there significant congestion and environmental benefits?
UPDATE: 1 July 2021
Information and findings about this project were also presented at a recent iMOVE webinar. We recorded the event, and it can be watched at: VIDEO: Progress toward more efficient supply chains.
Request a download of the report
Click the button below to be sent a copy of this report. If you have any difficulty with the process please request a copy via email.
Co-modality: Making Use of Public Transport to Carry Freight: Project White Paper May 2021
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