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Borås pipes down the hustle and bustle of its downtown area

The coronavirus pandemic has given a chance to explore some fresh ideas

  • November 17, 2020 18:30
  • Author Tzvetozar Vincent Iolov
Medium boras good goods
Source: Borås Municipality

These days the central areas of most European cities are eerily quiet, and the reason is clear, what with a global pandemic which is in the full swings of its second wave. Ironically, the Swedish city of Borås had already been progressing towards making its downtown area less noisy and busy with its Good Goods urban logistics project, however, this was meant to reduce vehicles and not the people.

Yet, times of crises are times for fresh ideas and thinking outside of the box. Yesterday, the city municipal website informed the start of what is probably the first digital shopping centre in Sweden – an unexpected spin-off for the Good Goods project, but also one that is much needed.

Daily good deliveries and trash collections create pollution and noise in cities

Initially, the project, launched in December 2019, was concerned with redesigning the local logistics system. It is well-known that all the restaurants and stores in the downtown core need supplies which get delivered by heavy trucks. As a consequence, this creates traffic congestions, noise pollution and general reduction of life quality for the residents.

Still, the downtown area is also the nerve centre of a city, the place where its pulse can be felt, with people going shopping, working, strolling, dining or attending cultural events. The Borås authorities decided to implement a system where heavy trucks will deliver goods to terminals located in the peripheries and unload them there. Then smaller electric trucks would continue the delivery process to the businesses. Electric vehicles also collect urban waste in the opposite direction.

With the coronavirus pandemic and gradual restrictions, people have now started avoiding the downtown area and are staying home. This, of course, is terrible for the stores who rely on that foot traffic for their survival.

The solution? Encourage these stores to join an online platform – the digital mall in question – and turn the Good Goods vehicles into delivery trucks for the home shoppers. The idea is to help both sides while preserving the businesses as they are part of what makes the downtown area thrive in normal times.

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