Urban freight transport represents 30% of the traffic congestion in cities. In Metropolitan Lima, which now has more than 9 million inhabitants and is projected to reach 12 million by 2030, companies have the challenge of supplying the needs of a population that continues to grow. Is it possible to achieve this without increasing its impact on transit?
In order to contribute to the formulation of public policies that benefit the city traffic flow, Universidad del Pacífico presented its Observatory of Urban Freight Transport, whose objective is to generate useful information from the monitoring and analysis of the information generated by freight vehicles' GPS devices.
"We started this project in 2017 with funding from the World Bank. The sample we have worked the pilot with is 630 trucks that generate data every minute, which demands a great computational power to store the information and very specific professional knowledge to process it", explains Michelle Rodríguez, Dean of the School of Engineering at UP.
Rodríguez points out that one of the main challenges of the project was georeferencing 30% of the data, since it was generated in areas that were difficult to locate. "The city continues to grow and in an unplanned way. Products are delivered in remote areas and we, as people in logistics, have the need to locate these points. Cleaning that database to generate more accurate data has been a several-month work".
Andrés Bronfman, Academic Director of the Center for Transport and Logistics at Universidad Andrés Bello de Chile, highlighted that Latin America is the most urbanized region on the planet, with 75% of its population living in cities.
"The role of the academy is to start raising awareness. Citizens must be informed because they have to understand why traffic is generated, especially the one in port cities, which are very affected on a daily basis by the movement of trucks", he explained.
Bronfman referred to the current management of traffic information. He explained that the movement of freight in cities is usually measured through an adapted version of the Origin-Destination Survey. "It is very expensive and in Chile it did not help at all. It has an operational difficulty to be applied. The most dramatic thing is that the results of this survey are available 2 years after being conducted, it's a photograph of two years before".
The observatory of the city of Santiago started with 35 freight vehicles and today monitors more than 23,000 every 30 seconds. "We know where they circulate, when they stop, how fast they go, and we correlate this to synthesize information".
"What happens when there is rain, demonstrations or events like Cyber Monday? Questions begin to arise to develop our service", he said, adding that the next step of his project is to segment vehicles by specialties to differentiate, for example, hospital logistics from hotels, restaurants and casinos.