In 2016, the Belgian city of Ghent introduced a revolutionary circulation plan for Flanders, with the objective of discouraging through-traffic from entering the city. This is certainly giving the historic city room to breathe again, but what is the impact on freight deliveries and shipments in the city?
The Urban Distribution Platform, an innovative public-private partnership, provides logistics solutions that meet the requirements of the circulation plan. But effective solutions can only be implemented after a thorough problem analysis. With our experience in urban distribution and the creation of decision tools, we were perfectly placed to help the Urban Distribution Platform to launch the circulation plan.
The Rebels worked with unprecedented speed, applying their complementary expertise to create a decision tool that maps both existing urban freight flows and the impact of the circulation plan on these – visually and quantitatively.
The tool was used as the starting point for working sessions with the city council, interest groups and the business community, in order to ensure effectiveness and local support for the scheme. A series of pilot projects was developed, bottom-up, with a focus on the relevant bottlenecks. These pilots revealed that sustainable city distribution works not only on paper, but also in practice.
We are delighted that we, as Rebels, have been able to support the city of Ghent in its development of this pioneering solution. We are also working on similar projects in other cities including Mechelen and Antwerp, and of course we hope to achieve better urban mobility throughout Flanders using our tools and models.
These projects involve numerous challenges and require a long-term perspective, but the Rebels ensure that everybody is pulling in the same direction and that the improvements in air quality really are achieved.