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Business Improvement Districts as important influencers for changing to sustainable urban freight

Journal article
Authors Alena Brettmo
Michael Browne
Published in Cities
Volume 97
Issue February 2020
Pages 102558
ISSN 0264-2751
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Business Administration, Industrial and Financial Management & Logistics
Pages 102558
Language en
Keywords Freight Business Improvement District Sustainability Collaboration
Subject categories Transport Systems and Logistics, Business Administration


Abstract This paper explores the ways in which Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) can promote initiatives that lead to more sustainable urban goods movements in urban areas. The qualitative research was conducted by studying eight BIDs in three cities and in three countries - all the BIDs studied had considered or taken actions related to urban freight and sustainability. The results show that BIDs in different countries have similarities and differences in their organisational structure and functions, the main services provided and readiness to promote initiatives related to urban freight improvements. We identified that differences in their accomplishments relate to their motivation, awareness of the scope to influence urban freight and the extent of their collaboration with local and city authorities concerning urban freight initiatives. In general, we suggest that BIDs have the potential to act as important influencers in urban freight as they (i) unite the receivers and encourage them to address joint operations that bring economic and environmental benefits (ii) give the receivers the possibility to implement changes through the power of collective action (iii) facilitate the dialogue and collaboration with local and city authorities. As a result, we suggest that the measures directed to BIDs on improving urban freight can have much more significant return on time and funds invested than if invested in a single businesses and organisations. Our recommendation to BIDs that would like to reach higher level of accomplishments is to ensure stakeholder engagement including engaging and collaboration with local authorities and to demonstrate their willingness to take a lead.

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