Saturation des villes : l’EM Normandie et WU Vienna University of Economics and Business remportent un projet ANR pour une logistique plus durable du dernier kilomètre

14 May 2024

Saturation of cities: EM Normandie and WU Vienna University of Economics and Business win an ANR project for more sustainable last-mile logistics

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As part of the call for projects from the National Research Agency (ANR) – PRCI “Collaborative research project – international” EM Normandie and WU Vienna University of Economics and Business are co-leading the SUD – Sustainable Urban project Deliveries, which will start in May 2024. This aims to develop new mathematical models and algorithmic optimization approaches to address decisionmaking problems in developing new urban delivery concepts based on recent technological advances and societal trends.

The project will produce tools for decision-makers at different levels (city policy, business strategy, business operations) and basic methodological foundations to address them in future applications. The expected results are new models and algorithms for strategic, tactical, and operational decision-making problems arising in implementing new sustainable urban distribution concepts based on cargo bikes, human carriers, and transport vehicles. automated delivery.

Algorithms as a decision support tool for new urban delivery models

Land use planning policies and the lack of space in urban areas constitute a major challenge. Many municipalities are facing a growing demand for the redistribution of public space, suggesting a repurposing of streets and parking lots into parks, leisure spaces or cycle paths. Due to the lack of parking spaces, delivery vehicles are often parked illegally on cycle paths or blocking the roadway, posing an additional threat to the safety of the most vulnerable road users. Vehicles looking for a parking space also generate much traffic, pollution, and additional noise. It is therefore necessary to develop policies to effectively manage these spaces, especially to solve the problem of parking or transshipment of delivery vehicles without using additional space.

To reduce the impact of urban deliveries by motor vehicle, several alternatives exist for last-mile deliver:

  • The cargo bike: environmentally friendly and quiet, it is ideal for transport in cities. Flexible and agile, it is little affected by traffic jams and, due to its small footprint, it has a lower transport capacity and limited autonomy. •
  • Couriers on foot: with the difficulties of parking, the restriction of access to certain areas, and the reduction in driving speed, 62% of the total time of a delivery driver's tour is done on foot for a distance of 8 km. •
  • Electric autonomous vehicles: still in the experimental phase, robotic deliveries could increase the efficiency of deliveries and reduce related emissions.

The SUD project must respond to these challenges of development and co-location of activities. It will study the different sustainable alternatives and variables that can be integrated into so-called multi-level modeling scenarios. This in-depth, multi-level study will require the development of new mathematical models, and optimization approaches to address the previously mentioned decision-making problems. The main objective is to show that deliveries can be made by carbon-neutral and less harmful modes of transport while remaining economically viable and meeting the needs of citizens. The budget of the SUD project financed as part of the ANR PRCI Call for Projects is €520,000 over 48 months.

An unprecedented cooperation for EM Normandie

EM Normandie is, for the first time in its history, the winner of an ANR call for projects. This success reinforces the excellence and scientific foundation of research within the school. As part of the SUD project, EM Normandie will be responsible for project management and work related to strategic decision-making support tools. This transnational collaboration underlines the global importance of the theme and allows us to strengthen our links with high-level international researchers.

Explains Jakob Puchinger, Professor of Supply Chain Management and Logistics and leader of the SUD project for EM Normandie.


This unique cooperation between WU Vienna and EM Normandie is made possible by joint funding from the ANR and the Austrian Science Fund FWF. WU is responsible for the operational and tactical level - i.e. the planning of the short and mediumterm deployment of resources. Urban last mile deliveries are a key component of sustainable transport in the cities of the future. We are glad to contribute to the development of solutions for the innovative use of sustainable transport modes.

States Vera Hemmelmayr, Associate Professor at the WU Institute for Transport and Logistics Management.


About de Vienna University of Economics and Business

WU Vienna University of Economics and Business is the biggest business and economics university in Europe. Founded in 1898, over 21,000 students and 2,800 employees from more than 100 countries study, teach, work, and do research at WU. Only about 1% of all business and economics universities worldwide can claim the prestigious triple accreditation awarded by EQUIS, AACSB, and AMBA – and WU is one of them. WU is a responsible university. This means that WU not only takes its responsibility to provide high-quality research and teaching very seriously, but it is also committed to social responsibility in everything else it does.

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