Urban freight

What is Urban freight?

Urban freight is the system and process by which goods are collected, transported, and distributed within urban centres. A key focus for urban planners is to build better connections between city functions, and to create places which inspire people to live, socialise, shop and interact within the city environment.

This page provides resources developed by Transport for NSW to support various parties to better understand and consider urban freight requirements.

These resources complement each other and will assist in delivering economically viable, socially acceptable, commercially efficient and environmentally sustainable place outcomes. 

Stakeholders include:

  • planning authorities and local councils
  • developers and their teams proposing a new building
  • traffic consultants
  • building managers and operators 
  • freight and logistics operators. 

Modern urban planning priorities focus on making places attractive for people. As long as people demand goods and services, there will be essential freight and servicing movements going to and from the site. Successful placemaking generates freight and servicing activities, such as food and beverage deliveries, waste services and utility maintenance. 

Properly understanding and planning for freight and servicing tasks in the initial design of a building or precinct is the most effective way to ensure it enables good place outcomes. 

Servicing competing demands

Planners designing buildings and precincts must be aware of the demand for freight vehicle movements that urban centres are likely to generate. Freight and servicing vehicles have their own operating characteristics which must be assessed and accommodated to reduce impacts on amenities and other road users. 

Increasing consumer demand

Emerging consumer trends are dramatically increasing demand for deliveries and challenging traditional delivery methods. Different businesses require a multitude of products for their day-to-day operations to meet their customers’ demands. There are many challenges urban planners need to resolve to accommodate the freight task while the freight industry must also respond to the changing urban environment.

Last Mile Toolkit

Launched in 2021, the Freight and Servicing Last Mile Toolkit is a best-practice guide to assist urban planners, developers and government to give greater consideration to freight and servicing demands for new buildings and precincts as part of the planning process.

It also promotes better management of freight and servicing for existing buildings.

The toolkit includes:

  • guiding principles
  • measurement and forecasting tools
  • design and management solutions
  • future approaches.

Visit My Sydney to download the Last Mile Toolkit.  

We have developed a series of on-demand videos which provide a quick snapshot on various sections of the Last Mile Toolkit. 

Delivery and Servicing Plan Guidance 

The Delivery and Servicing Plan (DSP) Guidance aims to provide a structured approach for consent authorities to apply to significant development approvals. 

This guidance document will apply to new developments or if there are significant usage changes within existing buildings. 

It encompasses all types of delivery and servicing, facilities and management and considers the wider supply chain supporting these activities. 

This aims to improve the management of freight and servicing activity, while reducing its impact on the urban area. 

Download the Delivery and Servicing Plan Guidance (PDF, 3.04 MB).

Urban Freight Forecasting Model

The Urban Freight Forecasting Model is an interactive web model to support the forecasting of urban freight activity generated by buildings and developments. 

You can use the model to test various scenarios to understand the freight requirements for a building. This can improve loading dock provision and enable better decision making for planners and developers.  

Access the Urban Freight Forecasting Model.


For more information on Urban freight contact freight@transport.nsw.gov.au.