The problems expressed by local and regional authorities, and in particular public decision-makers, are numerous and heterogeneous, as shown by the conference held on September 10, 2014. The first ambition of the Chair will be to prolong the dialogue initiated during this colloquium and become a place for constructive and operational exchanges between public authorities and research actors.

Urban areas today are concerned with problems and choices related to logistics. However, public actors often lack the methodology, tools and data to make decisions that are important. Although media coverage of the city’s logistics problems is relatively new, academic research has advanced in this area, although the work has so far been more linked to industrial needs than to those of public authorities. Two major areas of research are emerging:

  1. The automatic collection of data related to the flow of vehicles and goods, resources and/or information technologies,
  2. The management of these very large databases and the resulting simulation possibilities, for example, to test different scenarios.

Such a dialogue is likely to create economies for both the public authorities and the companies through the dissemination of knowledge that it will allow.


The Chair is also interested in mapping and modeling. The ambition is to map urban flows and their impacts, allowing cross-analysis of economic, political and operational decisions. These analyzes can be carried out in several contexts as follows:

  • In the context of pooling, it is pertinent to establish the sharing potentialities for a given urban area, as well as their most likely impacts;
  • In the context of estimating nuisances, it is important to create multilayer maps, allowing the parallel analysis of the regulatory and organizational choices and the nuisances generated;
  • In the framework of the capitalization of knowledge, the Chair will focus on the analysis of the current experiences of urban logistics, in order to bring to light the key factors: resources, means, personnel, economic evaluation, spin-offs in sustainable development, positive and negative externalities, etc.


In 2013, the turnover of French e-commerce amounted to € 45 billion. It has become the main channel for distance selling, generating more than 75,000 direct and indirect jobs. At the European level, 16% of companies sell online and 34% of companies have made online purchases (FEVAD, Report “KEY FIGURES 2013”).

In the Chair, an important topic of work will concern the relations between e-commerce and the nuisances generated in urban areas. With a great simplification of the buying process, e-transactions lead to an increase in the number of home deliveries with often constrained delays. Moreover, the fragmentation of delivery points related to the diffuse clientele, tends to increase the consumption of packing and dunnage materials. The e-commerce is also generator of return flow. This involves additional vehicles for freight transport and exacerbates congestion and environmental problems in urban areas. Moreover, the economies of scale of the traditional distribution are difficult to transpose for individual deliveries, characteristic of e-commerce.

The challenge of urban deliveries force players to propose new solutions to their customers mainly for B2B and C2C: crowd-shipping, relay points, automatic boxes, etc. New technologies offer flexibility in the exchange of information associated with low capital investment. Despite low operating costs, a carrier’s low margins require a thorough understanding of urban logistics, its new modes, and its future uses to create a sustainable business model.