TNO research shows that new concepts for building logistics can lead to substantial savings in cost and time. It also leads to better traffic flow, less harmful emissions and less inconvenience for the surroundings. For example, the number of inner-city trips to and from the building site can be reduced by about 50% to 80%.

One million new homes will be built in the coming years, housing will be made more sustainable and the infrastructure renewed. Building work already accounts for 30 percent of business traffic in cities: more than 200,000 vans and 20,000 trucks daily. This causes annoyance and costs due to traffic jam, problems with air quality (CO2, particulate matter), noise and road safety. TNO research shows that sustainable building logistics reduces inconvenience and costs. Sustainable building logistics is the logistics alignment throughout the entire chain, from architect to contractor to building site workers, so that building work is done as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Sustainable building logistics research

In recent years, research has been carried out in various projects into sustainable building logistics. Some of these projects are explained in brief below.

4C in Building Logistics: In this research project, new building logistics concepts and chain management systems were applied in practice in two actual building projects by TBI (Hotel Amstelkwartier) and VolkerWessels respectively in collaboration with Boele and van Eesteren (De Trip). Such as a building hub on the outskirts of the city or at a supplier or so-called runners for the timely preparation of building materials at the right location on the building site.
TNO has shown for the De Trip building project that the use of building logistics concepts pays off: 69% fewer trips to the building site, 69% fewer kilometres of building traffic, 68% lower CO2 emissions and an average saving for the supplier of 81 minutes per trip.

4C control tower applications in building logistics: This is a continuation of the previous project. In this project TNO advised 9 new building projects on the application of building logistics concepts and measured the performance and impact on the environment. In 3 living labs, extensive data collection and savings have been demonstrated. In these three projects, approximately 50%, 65% and 80% of journeys were saved, totalling more than 260,000 kilometres, leading to a reduction in CO2 emissions of 40%, 85% and 50% respectively. The experiences with BouwHubs, a location on the outskirts of the city where all building materials are collected, were unanimously positive.

Amsterdam Vaart!: In this project TNO is working together with the municipality of Amsterdam, the Port of Amsterdam and Waternet. The aim is to transport as much building material as possible by road to the water. To make this possible, in many cases a multimodal building hub is required. This is a decoupling point for the transfer of building materials from road to water and vice versa, with possibilities for the temporary storage of building materials and bundling of the transport of building materials. In 2018, partly thanks to the stimulus provided by the consortium, a number of multimodal construction hubs were already started up and four building projects gained their first experience with transporting building materials by water. In this project TNO has focused on monitoring the effect of applying and working with a multimodal construction hub. The municipality of Amsterdam is using its experience in the development of policy for goods transport by water. The positive results from 2018 have ensured that there will be a follow-up for several building projects in Amsterdam, among others.

Exploration impact on sustainability: The City of Rotterdam has asked TNO to investigate the potential and impact of exploiting a multimodal logistics building hub, especially on the number of transport movements and related CO2 and other harmful emissions (NOx and particulates). The main conclusion of this study was that the use of building hubs to bundle the transport of building materials to all construction sites within the Rotterdam ring road has a considerable positive impact on heavy goods traffic in the city centre to the building sites, the climate and air quality. By combining the use of building hubs with electric transport between these hubs and the building sites in the city centre of Rotterdam, it is even possible to achieve considerable additional savings in emissions (double order of magnitude). The results of the study were used by the Municipality of Rotterdam for further steps towards policy to regulate building flow.

Coordination in the chain is crucial

TNO concludes that coordination and cooperation within the chain is crucial for good building logistics. The successful execution of building projects depends on aspect like: insight into the integral chain costs, joint tactical and operational planning based on shared information, sufficient scale in building hubs (BouwHubs) to reduce costs, a well-considered location of the hubs, insight into the operational logistics performance and an active role of the local government in tendering and licensing.


In the various projects TNO works closely together with various knowledge institutions, (local) government and industry, including: TU Delft, University of Twente, Hogeschool Utrecht, Hogeschool van Amsterdam, Municipality of Amsterdam, Port of Amsterdam, Waternet, VolkerWessels Bouwmaterieel, Dura Vermeer, van Wijnen, Waal bouw, Scholtens group, Bouwend Nederland and TLN. The knowledge and experiences gained are widely shared within the sector through conferences and institutions such as Dinalog and Connekt.


Sustainable Transport and Logistics

In the Sustainable Transport & Logistics department, we help make the transportation of goods and people more efficient and sustainable. In the logistics sector, we help accelerate innovation by conducting... Read more


Siem van Merriënboer MSc

  • Intelligent Transport Systems
  • Self Organizing Logistics
  • Smart real-time dataplatforms
  • Big Data