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Technical Report

Changing Retail Business Models and the Impact on CO2 Emissions from Transport: E-commerce Deliveries in Urban and Rural Areas

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Publication: Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium (PacTrans)
Volume: 2013-S-UW-0023
Publication Date: 2014

While researchers have found relationships between passenger vehicle travel and smart growth development patterns, similar relationships have not been extensively studied between urban form and goods movement trip-making patterns. In rural areas, where shopping choice is more limited, goods movement delivery has the potential to be relatively more important than in more urban areas. As such, this work examines the relationships between certain development pattern characteristics including density and distance from warehousing. This work models the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and Particle Matter (PM10) generated by personal travel and delivery vehicles in several different scenarios, including various warehouse locations. Linear models were estimated via regression modeling for each dependent variable for each goods movement strategy. Parsimonious models maintained nearly all of the explanatory power of more complex models and relied on one or two variables – a measure of road density and a measure of distance to the warehouse. Increasing road density or decreasing the distance to the warehouse reduces the impacts as measured in the dependent variables (vehicle miles traveled (VMT), CO2, NOx, and PM10). The authors find that delivery services offer relatively more CO2 reduction benefit in rural areas when compared to CO2 urban areas, and that in all cases delivery services offer significant VMT reductions. Delivery services in both urban and rural areas, however, increase NOX and PM10 emissions.

Authors: Dr. Anne Goodchild, Erica Wygonik
Recommended Citation:
Goodchild, Anne, and Erica Wygonik. Changing retail business models and the impact on CO2 emissions from transport: e-commerce deliveries in urban and rural areas. No. 2013-S-UW-0023. Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium, 2014.