Pilot Intelligent Access Policy Logistics started in Groningen

The municipality of Groningen wants to arrange the supply of the city center in a smarter and more efficient way, by using smart access policy for trucks. At the moment, trucks either may or may not enter. If you receive an exemption, it immediately applies for the whole year, even if a truck actually only has to enter the city center on Wednesday morning. With the new approach, the municipality wants to grant trucks access to certain locations, for certain target groups and at certain times.

Trucks that are equipped with the necessary technology are recognized and are given faster access to, for example, movable posts and loading and unloading areas. This reduces nuisance for residents and ensures efficient supply within the recently expanded window times area. Preparations for the pilot, which will take place in 2023, started in Groningen in October 2022.

Grip on logistics flows

With smart access, the municipality makes it clear which type of vehicle is welcome where and at what time, so that carriers know exactly where they stand. Participating trucks ensure that their on-board computer is upgraded so that it is able to share data and be recognized. If the driver drives into the city center, the data from the truck is compared with the rules of the area. For example, is it a zero emission zone? Then an electric truck will automatically gain access to barriers and movable bollards. The barriers will remain closed for trucks running on diesel. However, it is not only about access to physical infrastructure: trucks are also recognized when they enter an area that has been digitally demarcated, for example an environmental zone or around schools at certain times. This is also known as ‘geofencing’.

Philip Broeksma, alderman of the municipality of Groningen, warmly welcomes the development: “The supply in the city center puts a lot of pressure on the public space. Together with the medical sector, we are working on measures and smart solutions to analyze the inconvenience caused by the supply. Smart access policies can help with this. This way we keep a grip on liquid flows and transporters are faster on site.”

Data sharing

Various supply parties in and around the city of Groningen are interested in the project. The pilot consists of a system test of intelligent access, in which an architecture and a data sharing system are set up. For example, a combination of data from the truck (position, route and type of vehicle) is linked to area information (e.g. school zones, zero-emission zones and parking spaces) and camera images that read the license plate. Based on that information, it is determined whether a specific truck is authorized to enter the relevant area on day X and time Y. In other words, it is checked whether the truck has a permit or exemption or whether it meets the conditions set, such as zero emissions or a weight of up to 35 tons. If the truck is indeed allowed to enter the area, movable bollards or barriers can also be operated remotely on the basis of this approval.

During the pilot in Groningen, the (digital) reservation of loading and unloading places by logistics service providers will also be tested. “A regular parking space can be used at favorable times to supply the city center and at other times by residents or visitors. In this way, the available space can be used smartly and multifunctionally,” says Sjouke van der Vlugt, senior urban development policy officer at the Municipality of Groningen.

The intended system uses existing techniques and building blocks. Once operational, this can in principle be used in any city for a multitude of applications. The first results of the pilot are expected in the first half of 2023.

Scaling up nationally

The agreements made and the pilot are the result of an earlier City Dinner for Smart Sustainable Urbanization and Logistics. The dinner in Groningen was the second in a national series, after a first dinner in Apeldoorn. The purpose of the meetings is to arrive at a nationally scalable action plan to organize logistics in a smarter and more sustainable way.

Groningen offers the first case study for this pilot initiated by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.


Would you like to know more about this project or are you a logistics service provider or other organization interested in participating in the pilot? Contact us.