IE University’s Center for Sustainable Cities and Prologis have designed a tool that analyzes the challenges of urban management and optimizes logistics to drive innovation in cities through sustainable solutions. Today, Monday, IE announced the Last Mile Logistics Impact Index, the first indicator designed worldwide that analyzes the challenges of the logistics sector, which has grown rapidly in recent years, and optimizes its impact on the growth of cities. This index, the first to be developed internationally, has been applied in Madrid and Barcelona in this first phase, and can be implemented in any city in the world to obtain logistics solutions for each urban ecosystem.
“The increase in density of cities together with the increase of e-commerce, especially after the pandemic, is a global challenge. From the IE Center for Sustainable Cities, we identified that until 2020 there were no systems to evaluate the impact of logistics in cities and we worked to propose solutions that take into account all the factors that build cities: environmental, social, political and urban planning,” explains Manuel Perez Romero, Chair of the IE Center for Sustainable Cities and Director of the report.
The authors analyzed three representative urban areas: the historic center, suburbs and outskirts of Madrid and Barcelona, and simulated 10 scenarios for each of these areas. These simulations combine the type of urban planning and the type of logistic transport used in each area: electric vehicles, electric bicycles, walking, etc. From there, the authors have developed a way called the Logistics Intensity Area to visualize the relationship between the urban structure and the type of logistics. “This is a ring system that overlaps the city and synchronizes the urban structure with the most efficient and sustainable type of logistics,” explains Pérez Romero.
To develop the research and simulate the different scenarios in order to measure their performance, they have used technologies such as geographic information systems, programming and mathematics to include all the parameters and calculate the performance of each scenario. “The data collected by the local administration has been key to creating visualization models of the character and behavior of the city. This information, together with the data provided by the researchers, has allowed us to explore different logistics scenarios and anchor them to reality,” explains Ruxandra Iancu-Bratosin, professor at IE School of Architecture and Design and co-author of the report.
“From the IE Center for Sustainable Cities, we understand and study the city as an ecosystem where natural, physical, social, digital, economic and political agents are interconnected. To address the challenge of increasing logistics activity in our cities, it is essential to know its impact and propose strategies, actions and specific planning policies to ensure that this impact is positive, while maintaining the efficiency and functionality of the logistics network,” concludes Pérez Romero.
“We are very proud of research department’s collaboration with IE University to develop this comprehensive Whitepaper, unique in the market for its approach. Under our philosophy of 'ahead of what's next', at Prologis we always try to anticipate the needs of the market, so we detected the importance of deepening the analysis of the impact of our sector as a backbone and ally of cities,” says Cristian Oller, Vice President and Country Manager of Prologis Spain.
“Modern logistics has become an essential, everyday and very visible part of everybody’s life, following the exponential growth in the adoption of e-commerce that we have experienced after the pandemic. Changes in living and consumption habits, along with sustainability, are levers of transformation and adaptation for cities, which is why urban logistics, in all its dimensions, acquires the entity of a backbone,” he adds.
According to data from Savills, in 2021, €278 billion were invested in the logistics sector worldwide, €95 billion more than in 2020, and a record absorption of logistics surface area was reached in Europe (28% above the historical average) and in the United States. The future of the logistics sector will grow, driven by the increase in e-commerce and the provision of more warehousing space by multinationals to secure their supply chains. For consumers, sustainability is a must. McKinsey experts confirm that more than 70% of consumers would pay 5% more for quality, sustainably manufactured products. In addition, the marketing of sustainable products on online marketplaces has grown 5.6 times faster than the sale of non-sustainable products.