Photo: Paulo Fridman/Corbis

About Urban Freight

Urban logistics is a challenge today, and it will be far more challenging in the future, with growing demand for the delivery of goods and services, and intense competition for street space amongst cars, vans, public transport, pedestrians and cyclists. Making better use of the capacity available for urban freight and finding smarter solutions to sharing space in cities is becoming increasingly important.

Freight transport in cities tends to respond effectively to economic requirements, but is a major contributor to social and environmental impacts, particularly to local air quality and noise. Urban freight activities often result in conflicts between economic and social/environmental priorities. Addressing such conflicts and trade-offs in urban freight transport requires change and innovation in the public and private sectors.

Unlike passenger transportation, research in the area of goods movement is in its infancy. The problems experienced by those providing logistics services in urban areas are not well understood. Transportation professionals, urban planners and policy-makers lack comprehensive understanding, robust data and common terminologies, all of which have major implications for the management of individual urban freight systems as well as the larger global freight network. The VREF theme Urban Freight is playing a key role in addressing this critical knowledge gap and leading efforts to raise the profile of goods movement in planning and policy arenas.

VREF supports targeted research and outreach with the goal of creating a strong international professional network that can influence government and industry decision-making. The initiative was launched with a symposium held in 2012, Urban Freight for Liveable Cities, and has since developed into a much broader effort.

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Global Mobility Research

This Meeting of the Minds' blog monthly releases interviews of global transportation researchers from the VREF's Future Urban Transport Program Network.


The VREF invites PhD students and early stage researchers to apply for a Study Visit Grant to be supported with up to SEK 30 000.

The invitation is now closed.

Each year the Håkan Frisinger Foundation for Transportation Research awards a scholarship to a prominent researcher.

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About VREF

The Volvo Research and Educational Foundations (VREF) inspires, initiates and supports research and educational activities through the Future Urban Transport Programme - How to deal with the complexity of urban transport (FUT). 

Our Vision: Sustainable transport for equitable access in urban areas

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2017