It's a fact: more and more towns are seeking to reduce the number of private and goods vehicles that can access their central districts. While individuals have the option of using public transport, hauliers find it more difficult to find a viable alternative. For many years, those involved in goods transport have been working on solutions that will meet the needs of the general public, consumers and those living in town centres.
We might forget it at times, but when a local authority decides to limit traffic within the area under its control, this decision also affects goods transport. Whereas in fact, trucks - whether they are big or small - play a key role in the life of a town. If they cannot get their stocks delivered - garments, books or foodstuffs - small shops and supermarkets will not be able to meet their customers' demands. Similarly, people expect to have the goods they have ordered online delivered promptly. On average, some 22 t of goods of all types are delivered in towns per year and per inhabitant! All of them deliveries for which trucks remain the most efficient means of transport.
Trucks: an efficient tool… can it also be eco-friendly?
What about delivering goods by bike? An attractive idea in theory, but which doesn't stand up to reality. First of all, from a practical and economic point of view: you can't supply a supermarket using a tricycle. But also from an ecological standpoint. Ademe (the French Environment and Energy Management Agency) has compared the environmental impact made by various types of urban goods transport in its Impact 2000 report. In terms of its footprint and time taken to make a delivery, it appears that a truck with a 10 tonne load is 35 times less "voluminous" and "polluting" than a small LCV when measured by the ton of goods it carries.
Reducing pollution therefore means improving the way resources are shared, so as to limit the number of vehicles used, explains Laurent Jacques, who is in charge of urban strategy for Renault Trucks: "At the risk of challenging preconceived notions, this survey proves that both from an ecological and economic point of view, it is better to have one well filled truck in city streets making multiple deliveries than 10 small vans each making a single delivery."
Furthermore, efforts to reduce pollution in urban environments also include encouraging users to operate the latest models of trucks. If all the HGVs on French roads complied with the Euro V standard, currently compulsory for new vehicles, nitrous oxide emissions would be 7 times lower, hydrocarbon emissions 5 times lower end emissions of particulates 20 times lower - adding up to a reduction of 98%.
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