Local Authority Cooperation with Urban Freight Stakeholders: A Comparison of Partnership Approaches
Freight transport operations in urban areas are normally performed by private companies using public infrastructure and governed by regulations implemented by public authorities. Until recently there has been little involvement of private companies in local transport planning processes and as a result urban transport regulations and plans are frequently formulated with limited understanding of the impacts on freight transport operations. In the UK, freight partnerships have been developed to bring together public and private stakeholders often in an urban context and there are other examples elsewhere in Europe. Few of these partnerships have been assessed in order to compare their activities systematically. The paper compares several freight partnerships and considers their usefulness and possible shortcomings in terms of specific outcomes and projects as well as their input to and influence on policy formulation. Six partnerships are investigated by means of desk research, interviews and questionnaires and in two cases participation by the researchers. The freight partnerships are compared using an assessment framework derived from the literature review conducted. Results show that shortterm actions solving specific problems are valued but are not perceived as the sole benefit of the partnerships. Longer-term relationships and mutual understandings of each other’s problems and possibilities are considered equally important especially in respect of input to policy formulation by the local authorities. The results also show that one of the most important factors to support the on-going activities of a partnership is a core set of engaged and interested participants and several ways in which this can be achieved have been identified.
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