Carfree Details
Moving Freight

Moving freight in Venice

Moving freight is the greatest challenge in the development of a workable carfree city. Venice uses its canal network to move freight internally and between the city and the mainland. This system works but the extra handling, small capacity of the boats, and the slow speed of water transport impose extra freight costs in Venice. It is also possible to conduct all internal distribution of foodstuffs and other goods using electric vans of the type commonly used in the 1920s and 30s. These vehicles could be speed-limited and would be quiet.

The modern carfree city must offer fast, cheap freight service. This can best be accomplished with "metro-freight," a dedicated freight delivery system based on metro technology and the use of standard shipping containers. Metro-freight moves all heavy freight except locally, within the district, thereby holding street traffic to an absolute minimum. Trucks would only be allowed into the city under exceptional circumstances. A detailed description of the metro-freight system as proposed for the carfree city is included as a full chapter in Carfree Cities.

Intermodal Terminals

Freight is moved in standard shipping containers, which arrive in the utility areas where they are transshipped to metro-freighter. Sizable storage yards accommodate containers awaiting dispatch into the city. All freight modes (rail, road, ship) can be accommodated.

District Depots

Once freight is delivered to the destination district, it must still be delivered to the point of use. Small factories are located along metro-freight sidings and receive and ship their freight directly onto the metro-freight system. (Factories requiring large quantities of raw materials and shipping large volumes of finished goods are located in one of the utility areas.)

Local Delivery

Groceries and other consumer items weighing up to about 100 pounds (45 kg) are hauled by the consumer using a pushcart. This solves most of the problem of deliveries to homes. Large items such as furniture are delivered via the local stores or from depots located on the metro line. Battery-powered forklifts and other slow, small vehicles move freight within the district.

A shipping container requiring delivery to a destination not directly served by metro-freight is loaded onto a wheeled chassis and moved to its final destination by battery power. The speed limited to a fast walk, but the distances are very short, so speed is not important.

Urgent Freight

The normal metro trains could haul a freight car at the back of the train where bicycles and pushcarts could be carried. These could be loaded and unloaded quickly enough not to interfere with the regular operation of the train, thereby providing a solution for small freight requiring immediate carriage.

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