URBE - URban freight and BEhavior change

01/10/2015 to 02/10/2015

The URBE conference focuses on the various alternatives capable of stimulating stakeholders’ behavioral change and engagement for a sustainable urban freight distribution. The conference is co-organized by the Department of Political Sciences (DISP) and the Centre for Research on the Economics of Institution (CREI), University of Roma Tre. It is endorsed by the Volvo Research and Education Foundation’s Center of Excellence for Sustainable Urban Freight Systems and the World Conference for Transport Research Society’s SIGB5: Freight Modelling.

The conference adopts an interdisciplinary perspective and provides a forum for open and constructive discussion. Academics, practitioners, policy-makers and private companies will debate alternative methods, disciplines, approaches, procedures and policies potentially capable of inducing the needed behavioral changes in all the stakeholders and institutions involved. The conference aims at pursuing, devising and fostering the sought for sustainability of all urban freight distribution activities.

Transport is undergoing a revolution. The social impact of the technological innovation introduced in transportation will provoke major behavioral changes whose key drivers, impacting on present trends, are, among others: internet of things, big data, social media, new production technologies, e-commerce and self-driving cars. This revolution is taking place in a context characterized by: 1) an increase in urbanization and motorization of major cities; 2) a slow institutional and physical infrastructure change; 3) daunting problems in deploying and using available technology due to decision-making bottlenecks.

The widely acknowledged and complex interaction among the stakeholders taking part in urban freight distribution is characterized by contrasting goals and no silver bullet solution is available. All this underline the need to address alternative proposals concerning how urban freight transportation systems should be designed, integrated and function so to operate them in an environmentally sustainable way. Growth, efficiency, and sustainability are the fundamental and often contrasting tenets of a thriving city; the reconciliation challenge can only be pursued via a deep behavioral change.

Innovations are likely to produce long-lasting results when deployed and used to the benefit of society at large. This is most likely to happen when the needs and constraints of all the strategically relevant actors are duly considered. Innovations to be applicable outside the researcher’s laboratory and the policy maker’s office need to be shared tested and accepted by private companies and citizens. The whole process should be discussed, planned, developed, deployed and improved in a collaborative way. This approach alone, in fact, will allow each counterpart to illustrate her position, describe her needs and negotiate adjustments and changes. Critically discussing and jointly finding compromise mixtures not only helps devising innovative and acceptable solutions but often also avoids most of the subsequent implementation problems thanks to the increased level of trust that a frank ex-ante discussion is capable of fostering.

Further information on the URBE conference can be found at

Roma Tre University / CREI