Existing freight and logistics plans are discussed in this section: the planning types used in urban freight in the first subsection; the organisational structure in relation to the European guidelines in the second; the policy measures suggested in each identified plan in the third; and the sustainability focus of the plans in the final subsection. Regions or cities identified with plans are listed in Table 1.
Urban freight strategies and action plans
With links to different planning contexts, the locally defined freight strategy of most identified urban freight plans is combined with a detailed freight measure action plan. See Table 2 for an overview of the type of planning document, plan additions and their contextual framework.
In most cases, the existing UK freight plans are supporting elements of an overall Local Transport Plan (LTP), often as freight strategies that sometimes include a freight action plan [45, 46, 48, 51], e.g. the strategic plan for transport in Kent can be found in Kent’s third Local Transport Plan . The Local Transport Plan is the local authorities’ key freight guiding policy document; it incorporates freight issues in the wider transport context of other transport strategies [35, 53]. For example, in Somerset it sets out how to improve the way freight is moved around the region . Aberdeen , on the other hand, has developed a SUMP which is essentially a transport masterplan examining the way people move around by different modes of transport together with the Aberdeen City Local Transport Strategy [48, 49]. Like Aberdeen the Scandinavian freight plans are organised differently as there is no requirement of a LTP including urban freight. In Danish cities the use of physical and road network planning have been emphasised when regulating and planning for urban freight . The Stockholm Freight Plan, which summarises freight-delivery-related goals and presents concrete actions, is organised as part of the city’s ‘Urban Mobility Strategy’ [16, 54]. Similarly, in Malmö the freight programme is part of Malmö’s new ‘Traffic and Mobility plan’ . However, without the presence of an LTP, and similar to the British cases, the Swedish freight plans have developed or will develop action plans [16, 32, 44]. In some, the strategic plan for goods traffic is combined with the action plan, which specifies measures rather than itself being specified as a separate document .
Regarding legal status of the freight plans the UK LTP is a long-term statutory transport policy framework document setting out future development of the area through stakeholder consultation in the planning process .Footnote 3 The Freight Strategies and the supporting documents on the other hand are non-statutory, which means that the plan does not have to be adopted by the Council Members . However, freight plans have been developed to implement the LTP, which is itself a statutory document . In the Scandinavian cases, the legal status of the planning document is varying; however, the Västra Götaland Freight Strategy has been implemented by the regional board in Västra Götaland  and in Malmö the plans have been politically adopted by the City Council [44, 55, 58].
The UK LTPs, their supporting freight strategies and detailed freight action plans, are developed based on national government guidelines and recommendations intended to advise and inform design and development. The national guidance provides good UK practice on urban freight plans , and they set out goals for transport planning in a defined planning period, thus providing ideas about measures and visions adjusted to fit each local context. Merseyside applies the following from Department for Transport national freight policies: ‘Guidance on Local Transport Plans’ , ‘Delivering a Sustainable Transport System: the Logistics Perspective’  and ‘White Paper – Creating Growth, Cutting Carbon’ [39, 62].Footnote 4 The national guidelines related to urban freight in Sweden, do not, as in the UK, mainly focus on urban freight but has a more overall urban mobility perspective. In Västra Götaland the following documents are important: Vision Västra Götaland 2020, Climate Strategy Västra Götaland, EU 2011 White Paper on Transport, Gothenburg 2035 Near Metropolitan Traffic Strategy and Västra Götaland Maritime Strategy . Combining national guideline documents and the creation of a Sustainable Urban Mobility Strategy is another approach . In Stockholm, the freight strategy has been developed from a City of Stockholm initiative within the context of the City Plan, which is a SUMP that includes freight as one of seven mobility topics . On a general level, Scandinavian planning guidance is more ad hoc based on national forums and public-private partnerships.
Urban freight plan contents framework
Overall, most freight strategies identified have a vision and status (of urban freight within a given geographical area) specified by several objectives followed by measures targeting these objectives, while the action plan provides detailed links between the selected measures and the identified objectives in each area . Most of the visions or aims of the identified urban freight plans focus on the need for sustainable freight distribution in the area in terms of economic efficiency/growth, environmental protection and social equity, e.g. ‘To facilitate the safe and efficient transportation of freight into, out of and within the TfSH sub-region, supporting a competitive local and regional economy, whilst taking into account the existing and future needs of our society and the environment’ . The exceptions to this sustainability focus are Stockholm, which highlights an efficient freight system in a viable city, and Dundee, which focuses on environmental protection [16, 51]. The challenges expected when coming up against these objectives are then set out, along with a number of measures for resolving them followed by an action plan for implementation of the preferred strategy .
Looking at the European guidelines, urban freight plans apply essential components of the SUTP, SUMP and the further developed SULP methodology. Recommendations about including the current situation, strategic context, vision, targets, key objectives and policy measures are followed in both regional and local/city level plans. For example, in Västra Götaland the following five elements are main headlines in the freight strategy:
Freight strategy vision, objectives and targets
Current situation of urban freight in Västra Götaland
Freight trends and forecasts
Strategic areas .
Some of the planning steps in the SUMP methodology can be identified in the Stockholm Urban Mobility Strategy , too, e.g. overall strategy defining the potential, objectives setting visions and aims targeted by effective packages of measures.
Planned urban freight policy measures
All the plans identified define one or more policy measure needed to improve a situation. The selection of measures depends on the freight-related issues faced in each region, the political agenda, environmental ambitions, interest groups and evaluation/achievements of previous transport plans . Tables 3 and 4, applying the NCFRP Report 33 “Improving Freight System Performance in Metropolitan Areas: A Planning Guide”, 2015  and categorisation of urban freight measures, identify the highlighted policy measures in regional and local and city level urban freight plans, respectively.
One way of distinguishing between freight measures, as in Surrey, is to separate between countywide freight measures, building on existing initiatives and local freight measures that address specific freight issues . The identified freight strategies covering a regional geographical area, such as Surrey, Staffordshire or Västra Götaland, focus less on urban freight and more on regional overarching transport measures. The selected policy measures in regional freight plans are to a greater degree targeted at long-haul transport, aviation, sea and rail transport in the region . Local and city level plans, such as in Malmö, Bedford and Dundee, focus on urban transport measures and a limited number of regional measures.
These differences are evident when comparing the strategies of Stockholm and Staffordshire. Stockholm focuses on low and zero-emission vehicles, off-peak delivery times, cargo consolidation and Freight Quality Partnership, whereas Staffordshire, for example, highlights truck routes, satellite navigation, ITS, infrastructure and the regulatory planning process, and potential for other freight modes. Hence, the plan has a greater long-haul transport perspective across municipal borders.
Overall, the following policy measures are those most often listed in regional-level freight plans:
Parking and loading area management
Technology, ITS, satellite navigation systems
Integration of freight in infrastructure planning and in the regulatory planning process by developing regional plans, e.g. delivery/construction plans or regional land-use plans.
Among the freight plans identified in a local geographical area, the most often mentioned freight policy measures are:
Creation of a freight quality partnership and cooperation with stakeholders and other municipalities
Traffic control, efficiency of freight movements, reliable deliveries and minimising delays.
Sustainability in urban freight plans
Sustainability is a key element of European and national urban mobility and logistics strategies, and, along with sustainable development, is defined according to the Brundtland Report  by the three components: economic growth, environmental protection to meet the needs of future generations and social equity to accommodate future generations . The urban freight plans identified ensure the sustainability aspect by viewing freight together with its surrounding environment. Altogether, the identified freight plans safeguard all three sustainability components; however, environmental impact can be identified as the main driver comparing across countries. Only two plans, those of Dundee and London, are labelled as Sustainable Urban Logistics Plans or plans for sustainable urban freight transport [41, 51].
The sustainability focus is more comprehensive and structured, including all three components, in the UK freight plans identified compared to the Scandinavian plans. Whether the economic, environmental or social impact of freight transport is emphasised differs to some extent in each city. For example, in Västra Götaland, social equity is less prioritised, while Malmö has less focus on economic growth/efficiency and in Stockholm the focus is mostly on environmental protection [16, 31, 55]. These differences within Sweden probably have to do with the type of plan each municipality apply i.e. as part of the Local Transport plan or as a locally developed mobility/city plan, and also with the availability of national guidance focusing on sustainability. In the UK cases, the Department for Transport national guidanceFootnote 5 stipulates guiding urban freight goals and therefore a methodology used to develop the sustainable urban freight plans, thus capturing the contribution to our economic growth together with environmental and social costs . The goals for transport planning are:
To support economic growth
To reduce carbon emissions
To promote equality of opportunity
To contribute to better safety, security and health
To improve quality of life and a healthy natural environment