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Co-Creating Last-Mile Solutions: Insights from Barcelona’s GREEN-LOG Workshop

The workshop on “Co-Creating Next-Generation Last-Mile Solutions” took place on 16 November, in Barcelona, bringing together stakeholders, and final users to discuss and co-create innovative last-mile delivery solutions for the Barcelona Living Lab in GREEN-LOG.

The event counted with 17 participants on site, including the Living Lab (LL) partners, and representatives from some of sectors with whom the project will collaborate – namely, the Barcelona Municipality and the Metropolitan logistics research community. A further 20+ participants joined the event online, including the representatives from the municipalities of Sant Cugat and Terrassa, GREEN-LOG partners and follower city representatives from Arad, Romania.

Figure 1: On-site workshop participants

Figure 2:  On-line workshop participants

Figure 3  Working in smaller groups

The Barcelona Living Lab value case

Barcelona’s Living Lab is formed by a  group of partners that harness the broad variety of competences needed to establish multi-modal solutions (AIMSUN, ATM, EURECAT, Factual, FGC, Mosaic Factor and VANaPEDAL). The workshop was the ideal setting for partners to  validate their User Stories and to engage with a range of stakeholders. The exchange focused on addressing the unique opportunities and challenges of a corridor linking VANaPEDAL’s cargo-bike hub in the centre of Barcelona with inland parts of the city served by FGC’s Vallès rail line, considering an extension further inland to cities such as Sabadell, Terrassa and Sant Cugat. The event was an initial step in validating the ways the Living Lab team is proposing to demonstrate multi-modal sustainable logistics services that integrate rail with cargo-bikes, e-van and e-scooter options while simultaneously  exploring how robots, modelling tools and APP-based incentives could support optimal configuration of the logistics chain(s).  

Stakeholders needs and definition of use-cases

Different potential use cases were presented by GREEN-LOG partners. Use-Case 1 focuses on  selecting the best zero-emission vehicle (cargo-bike, e-scooter or e-van) to carry out  direct deliveries to receivers with no breakage in the logistics chain. Use-Case 2 involves breaking the chain to combine an initial cargo-bike stage with a rail stage and various options for final delivery from the rail station close to the receiver location. Lastly, Use-Case 3 concerns a  full breakage of the chain, in which  the cargo-bike rider leaves the parcels at a locker and a robot navigates the station infrastructure and carries out the rail-based carriage, leaving the parcel at a locker at the station closest to the destination.

VANaPEDAL’s portal handles parcel orders from businesses in central Barcelona who seek to use zero-emission means of Next Day parcel delivery to clients across the city. All three use-cases could – potentially – be supported by the Next-Day delivery service Vanapedal offers via its portal.

Breaking logistics chains generates costs. Cargo-bike dispatch riders could use the rail services to access catchments of station of inland districts – the Post Code of Sant Gervasi contains 8 FGC stations and is identified for further investigation. Use-Case 2 is configured as a modelling exercise to determine the size of the bike+rail+foot delivery catchment and would look to quantify the time riders spend travelling on public transport (i.e. not delivering) to determine what subsidy would be required to trial such a “T-Rider” service. The mechanisms for validation of such a service needs to be investigated.

The robot prototype used in GREEN-LOG was not available for inspection at the workshop and does not have parcel handling functionality. Use-Case 3 will be a Proof-of-Concept of the robot’s ability to move around indoor and outdoor station environments. These trials could take place at a FGC station at one of the municipalities outside Barcelona.

Taking stock of the workshop outcomes             

The workshop provided relevant outcomes for the activities of the Barcelona Living Lab. Firstly, to develop Use-Case 1, VANaPEDAL should add e-scooters to its fleet and AIMSUN and ATM should agree about the data to be supplied for city-wide modelling.

As for Use-Case 2, it needs to further explore the Last-Mile options; the catchments for a rider delivering parcels within a walkable distance of the destination station will be limited. This means that the activities should explore the option of leaving all the parcels (of the district) at the hub of the Logistics Service Provider (LSP) based in this district. In both cases, costs arise and the definition of incentives in terms of public subsidies (consistent with policies) will be needed to demonstrate an exploitable result. The Rideal APP modifications need to contemplate such options.

The Proof-of-Concept test for Use-Case 3 needs to be defined taking into account the potential to transfer missing functionalities (e.g. parcel handling at lockers) from other sites making trials with robots.  

In the final session, participants shared their  views on different Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) looking at the potential impact of demonstrations of the presented Use-Cases. The following selected results are presented:

Figure 4: Participants’ input

A main goal of GREEN-LOG in the Barcelona Living Lab is to identify, establish and exploit synergies between the project’s local stakeholders and local pilots/projects towards including new municipalities and LSPs (operators) in GREEN-LOG’s pilot demonstration. A large-scale pilot would increase the sustainability gains based on the defined KPIs and act a valuable “lessons learned” activity for the city and metropolitan logistics ecosystem (operations, regulations, policies, synergies with mobility, etc.)

These and other inputs gathered during the group sessions will be further analysed and digested by GREEN-LOG partners to feed into the Living Lab conceptualisation and implementation process.

What does the future have in store?

Some of the Barcelona Living Lab activities can will evolve in parallel (Use-Cases 1 and 3, for example).

The modelling activity should proceed (Use-Case 2) and potential hubs for cooperation between Logistics Service Providers should be included (Use-Case 1). The mechanisms for validation of services supporting Use Case 2 and LSP cooperation need to be investigated based around an incentives APP incorporating blockchain technology.

Stay tuned for more updates on the Barcelona Living Lab!


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