Urban Freight

What is Urban Freight?

Urban Freight is the system and process by which goods are collected, transported, and distributed within urban centres. It is often associated with “the last mile”, the final leg of the freight task with goods being delivered to the final customer. In response to the question of “What is the freight task?” Then it is reasonable in this last mile urban freight context to describe it as the sum of peoples derived demand for goods and services.

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 needs to incorporate planning for freight.

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. 

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 approaches and tools
  • design and management solutions
  • future approaches.


Visit the Last Mile Toolkit page


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 while building on the principles of the Last Mile Toolkit. 

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

The approach considers a more robust approach to support planning for and management of freight and servicing to a development, aiming to support more of a “vision and validate” approach than a “predict and provide” method. It encompasses a data lead approach to consider the freight task, how it will be accommodated and ultimately moves towards a continuous improvement approach for the longer term that aligns to an urban areas general aims.

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

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. 

The model is publicly accessible for planners, developers and consultants to test various scenarios to understand the freight requirements for a building. This will assist in understanding a generated freight task and the required loading dock infrastructure to fully support it. Fully accommodating the generated freight task will lead to better place outcomes.

Retiming for Freight and Servicing

A method for accommodating and managing freight is to retime activity to be outside of peak periods. This can support better place outcomes, enable more efficient freight operations with planned access and enable a loading dock to accommodate more activity.


Microhubs can be an efficient approach in urban freight management to transition from larger vehicles to smaller and more environmentally friendly vehicles that are more discrete and may be more efficient within the last mile. These are best places at the fringe of urban areas with a significant urban freight task that is difficult for larger freight vehicles to access.

Industrial Lands and Last Mile Freight

With e-commerce booming, last mile freight activity has experienced significant growth in the last decade. Simultaneously, urban growth and land use pressures have resulted in increased demands on a diminishing supply of industrial land, as a base for freight operations.

As service demands of customers increase and city managers desire a reduction on vehicle kilometres travelled, environmental pollution and congestion, it is important to retail industrial land to support the freight task in reasonable proximity to customers.