How will we live tomorrow in our cities, especially with the daily deliveries of vans? Illustration photo
How will we live tomorrow in our cities, especially with the daily deliveries of vans? Illustrative photo (GETTY IMAGES)

What will my city be like tomorrow? We talk about it every weekend this summer on franceinfo. Lighting with Cécile Maisonneuve and Édouard Marguier. And today, we are looking at the daily ballet of vans.

franceinfo: How can the city breathe despite the development of logistics?


Cécile Maisonneuve: When we talk about mobility in the city, we think of pedestrians, metro, bicycles, cars, but there is another mobility that we talk about less: that of the goods that allow us to feed and feed the urban people that we are. This mobility and all the logistics that go with it, you know, it’s a bit like in Tartuffe: “Hide this mobility that I cannot see”. But now is the time to deal with it.

Indeed, when we say urban logistics, what comes to mind is the image of the little white van behind which we are stuck for 20 minutes …

Ah the little white van! Indeed, it is the nightmare of urbanites. Online commerce has indeed exploded individual deliveries. With the development of e-commerce, instead of delivering a single store, we deliver to everyone, separately. Result? 500 million packages delivered in France last year, and their annual growth is double digits. That’s a lot, but it’s especially annoying: because the white van, it often bites on the sidewalk and cycle paths. Not to mention the accidents linked to the frantic pace of delivery people, subject to ever tighter delivery times, by demanding consumers that we are!


How can we prevent the city from being overwhelmed by urban logistics tomorrow?

In this area, innovations abound! Amazon introduced its delivery drone last year. Why not in low density areas, but it’s hard to imagine the sky over Bordeaux or Grenoble crisscrossed with constantly flying vehicles.

There are also land delivery robots, already in action in the United States or China. In our cities today, river freight is growing, very timidly. We also see the cargo bikes deploying. However, none of these innovations will be enough to solve the problems of urban logistics. Because the subject is the storage of goods. Huge warehouses are being installed further and further from the cities. If they want to take control of logistics and make it more sustainable, that means better organizing storage closer to consumers.


But reconciling the price of land in urban centers and the storage of goods, we have not yet found the magic formula. Let’s hope that our cities tomorrow will know how to invent it.