Foto by — Susanne Wrighton

EU powers the Cargo Bike revolution

Via ECF press release (

After OECD & World Bank, Cargo Bikes make a presence at TRA, the European conference on transportation policies and solutions. New EU financed projects continue to power the business potential of cycle logistics.
Paris/Brussels, May 6, 2014 –-The cargo bike story made its debut at the Transport Research Arena (TRA) in Paris. Based on ECF’s continuous work across the highest political levels, the success of cargo bikes in saving money while increasing efficiency was shared for the first time with members from the automotive, rail, and shipping transportation industries.
“Our cargo bike storytelling has been an eye-opener for authorities and companies,” says ECF Secretary General Bernhard Ensink. “In 2012 we brought them to the OECD conference ITF, the International Transport Forum. This Spring, it was the World Bank conference on sustainable logistics, hosted by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague, and now TRA.”
“We concluded the CycleLogistics project at TRA in Paris showing the cargo bike that saves companies thousands of euros every year. Other EU projects, like Pro-E-Bike, continue telling that story” said Dr. Randy Rzewnicki, ECF project manager who discussed the benefits of cycle delivery with stakeholders from a wide range of logistics businesses and agencies. “Bikes are of course most effective within the inner-city areas: urban area transportation companies are having significant reductions in costs while maintaining or increasing efficiency,” says Rzewnicki. At the same time bikes help to protect the environment with reduced C02 emissions and energy use.
“In the conclusion session at TRA, Professor George Giannopoulos talked about the clean, green, last mile solutions by bicycle,” said Rzewnicki. “Bikes are a key part of the solution for the future of our congested cities”, he adds. Giannopoulos is Chairman of the European Conference of Transport Research Institutes.
The TRA had its fifth edition in Paris, with nearly 3000 visitors from 56 countries attending the 130 conferences and workshops. Strongly supported by the European Commission, the conference addresses multi-disciplinary actors from universities, research institutes, companies, consultancies, and public authorities.
The main focus of this conference was to explore innovative solutions for the current challenges in transport and mobility, especially multimodal solutions with different partners to transport goods in urban areas.
The EU and the ECF identified the potential of cargo bikes a few years ago when they launched the CycleLogistics project. Involving 15 countries in Europe, CycleLogistics was a big success. Initiated in May 2011, their aim was to increase bicycle based transport of goods in the European cities. To attract multiple user groups to test and acquaint themselves with this ‘old’ but newly resurrected trend, CycleLogistics initiated different campaigns. Two examples really stood out.
Shop-by-bike campaign
“Over 50% of motor vehicle trips for moving goods in cities could be shifted to cycles”, says Rzewnicki. Some of the largest potential advantages and gains can actually be achieved by private individuals. “Most people, including an awful lot of people who ride bikes daily think they need a car to do their shopping. But our studies show that over 90% of all shopping trips can be done by cycle” he said.
The Austrian supermarket chain SPAR is a long-time supporter of alternative shopping methods. They have been developing a shopping trolley for their customers and presented an early model at Velo-city Vienna in 2013.
Franz Hoelzl, Director of the Sustainability Department at SPAR explains: „Fast, economic, healthy and environmentally friendly — the bicycle and the cargo bike are the urban transport vehicles of the future. Our Bike&Buy campaign in Vienna and Graz has led to the current development of our own bike-shopping trailer right now. “
In the CycleLogistics Bike to Shop campaigns, over 3000 citizens in 10 countries did their food shopping with bicycles, mostly just using baskets & bike bags and/or bicycle trailers. This clearly demonstrated that bicycles are often the most efficient vehicles to transport shopping goods or leisure equipment in urban areas.
The obvious economic benefits have in turn generated many new business models with larger players in the logistics sector. Companies like DHL, TNT, FedEx and UPS now use bikes in their vehicle fleets in many inner city areas for last mile transport. This clearly indicates the opportunity for many businesses which require moving goods.
It also shows that the bike industry can get in touch with these interested parties to evaluate needs and come up with solutions that are either already existing or develop new transportation vehicles. A great example comes from France.
The Mousquetaires Group — owner of Intermarché, Netto, and Bricomarché franchises created their own grocery shopping by bike project, called ‘Koursàvélo’.
An integral part of the campaign is a special shopping trailer that attaches to any bicycle and can be also used as a shopping kart in the shop. It has separated compartments: one for dry goods and an insulated compartment for fresh and frozen goods.
The CycleLogistics project ended May 4th 2014. But the next EU co-financed projects will follow on directly. CycleLogistics AHEAD will continue the work started by CycleLogistics with a stronger focus on business applications. The ambitious goal of the project is a near zero emission of urban logistics by 2030.
Find more info here:
Another project that is supported by the ECF and co-financed by the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme is called “Pro-E-Bike”. The goal is to promote E-Bikes for the commercial transport of goods and persons in European cities. The project objectives include delivery companies in 8 pilot cities to replace their conventionally fuelled vehicles with E-bikes. “Pro-E-Bike” will test business cases for delivery of goods and services.
Find more info here:
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