Sustainable supply for the Heijendaal campus

a preliminary study

Campus Heijendaal in Nijmegen is home to Radboudumc, Radboud University (RU) and HAN University of Applies Sciences. Daily, tens of thousands of students, patients, visitors and staff visit the campus, as do the goods needed for research, treatment and education. This leads to extreme traffic congestion and has a negative impact on the local environment and people’s quality of life. The campus’s three institutions are working together to improve this situation. In this preliminary study, the KennisDC Logistiek (a HAN research group) maps out the possibilities. In retrospect, this turned out to be an important first step to setting up the cooperation agreement and the start of the NWO-supported Living Lab Heijendaal research program.

Context and relevance

The article describes the results of an exploratory study into the possible benefits of cooperating in the supply of goods for the three institutions located on the Heijendaal campus in Nijmegen. The study was conducted by KennisDC Logistiek in consultation with the three institutions and the municipality of Nijmegen.

Research question

What are the possible benefits of cooperation on the Heijendaal campus regarding supplies to Radboudumc, RU and HAN?

Research approach

The purpose of this study was to gain insights into the size and execution of the logistic flows towards and on the Heijendaal campus in order to get a first indication of possible gains by organizing the logistics differently. The researchers investigated: (1) the organization of the current goods flows and (2) which alternative logistic concepts could be connected to them. First, a literature study was conducted, the flows of goods on the campus were followed for a week, and the internal logistics were examined.



The process started with a literature study on sustainable last mile logistics, focusing on a similar initiative in Amsterdam. Then, in April 2018, HAN students spent a week counting on-campus supply vehicles. A delivery was defined as one stop at a specific address and could therefore consist of several orders. The results show that

  1. A large number of transporters were responsible for a small proportion of deliveries.
  2. A small number of transporters were responsible for a large proportion of deliveries.
  3. Over 80% of the transporters only made one delivery in the reference week.
  4. The 20% of transporters with multiple deliveries often came to the campus on several days, with several vehicles on the same day, and sometimes even to the same location.


The examination of the internal logistics of the three institutions showed that employee purchasing behavior (decentralized and ‘just in time’) was partly responsible for the large number of non-bundled deliveries.


The observations suggest opportunities to reduce the number of transport movements on campus by (further) bundling deliveries in vehicles and in time. This can be achieved by bundling at source, using the city hub for a bundled last mile, and by adapting purchasing behavior. The latter includes reducing delivery frequency, reducing the number of suppliers, and tendering for sustainable logistics.


Impact on living lab goals

This preliminary study mapped out the issues related to on-campus last-mile supply and shows potential for improvements in terms of sustainability and livability. How great this improvement potential is, how it can be utilized, and what the consequences are for costs and service levels will be examined in follow-up studies.

Conclusions, recommendations and follow-up research

The study clearly presents opportunities for improving on-campus sustainability and quality of life by adopting a different approach to supply. The large number of unbundled deliveries and the large number of transporters can be reduced by improved bundling, both in vehicles and time, and by more sustainable procurement. A number of stakeholders are involved:


  • changes in purchasing behavior: reduce delivery frequency, reduce the number of suppliers, and tender for sustainable logistics
  • seek cooperation with nearby recipients: joint suppliers, joint hub



  • reduce delivery frequency
  • bundled and zero emission delivery via city hub
  • at-source bundling: cooperating with suppliers with the same customers


City hub

  • Offer distribution center function for last mile bundling


Logistics service providers

  • Bundling in first and last mile


These proposed solutions became the subject for further research to be conducted within Living Lab Heijendaal that was created shortly after this study. This living lab is a formal cooperation between the three campus institutions. HAN KennisDC Logistiek acquired an NWO grant to conduct research in the living lab, together with the consortium partners.