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SENATOR: A new urban logistics model for sustainable cities

Every day, thousands of people use the Internet to buy products, and thousands of packages are delivered to their destinations. Often, small packages are delivered to the same locations, using overlapping delivery networks which occupy up to 40% of motorised roadways. In addition, the air quality is damaged by the NOx and particles emitted by the diesel combustion of the delivery vehicles. Thus, inefficient management of urban logistics negatively affects citizens, transport and logistics operators, shippers and city councils.

In this context, ZABALA is participating in the new SENATOR project, which proposes a new model of urban planning to improve the sustainability of cities. To this end, an intelligent network operator will be developed that will act as a control tower for the management of goods transport within the urban environment.

The platform will act on 4 levels taking into account demand, the fleet and its multimodal options, intelligent route planning and analysis of urban infrastructure, all in a dynamic way. Thus, it will allow the city councils (as responsible for urban planning) to manage sustainable transport policies under a 360º vision and in an optimal way, connecting the flows of goods in urban planning.

Consequently, SENATOR will minimise the negative impacts that this distribution causes in cities and will constitute an efficient means of collaboration between agents (citizens, operators, shippers and city councils).

The project, funded with 4 million euros by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, is led by Correos, the operator responsible for providing the Universal Postal Service in Spain. To face this challenges, Correos will work with an international consortium that includes companies and institutions from five European countries: Spain (University of Deusto, Zaragoza City Council, Zabala Innovation Consulting, DotGIS), Ireland (Dublin City Council, University College Dublin), Germany (Software AG), United Kingdom (MDS Transmodal LTD.) and Italy (RINA-C Consulting).

SENATOR is part of the CIVITAS iniciative, a network of cities dedicated to innovative transport solutions in Europe, with a view to creating growth and better connected, more sustainable transport modes. For that reason, SENATOR will collaborate with other CIVITAS European projects such as LEAD or ULaaDS to better inform about their research development. Together they will try to build a vision of future on-demand urban logistics.

Urban Living Labs

SENATOR project will test its effectiveness in the real environment, in two Urban Living Labs in Zaragoza (Spain) and Dublin (Ireland). The Urban Living Labs are spaces that facilitate experimentation with sustainability solutions, and can be defined as a user-centred, interactive and open innovation ecosystem. They often operate in a territorial context (in this case, a city), integrating simultaneous research and innovation processes in the framework of a partnership between the public and private sectors and the population.

In these Living Laboratories, research is focused on the user, so stakeholder participation is essential. Thus, ZABALA will carry out the phases of integration and social evaluation necessary to introduce the new logistic approach proposed by SENATOR. It will develop co-creation strategies to involve stakeholders and discover emerging scenarios, uses and behaviours.

ZABALA will work side by side with Zaragoza City Council and Dublin City Council to put the cities and their citizens in the centre of SENATOR’s experimentation, which will allow innovative ideas to be evaluated in real life situations. It will also support Correos, who will test, evaluate and demonstrate the viability, effectiveness, sustainability and suitability of the performance of each Living Urban Laboratory. In addition, ZABALA, as the responsible for Dissemination and Communication, will create strategies aimed at getting the right messages across to the project’s target audience.

SENATOR project will develop an essential instrument for urban planning that integrates all actors. Cities are changing, and therefore require new approaches in order to be sustainable and to improve the quality of life of the people living in them.