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Logistics Sprawl: Differential Warehousing Development Patterns in Los Angeles and Seattle

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Publication: Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board
Volume: 2410
Pages: 105-112
Publication Date: 2014

The warehousing industry experienced a period of rapid growth from 1998 to 2009. This paper compares how the geographic distribution of warehouses changed in both the Los Angeles and Seattle Metropolitan Areas over that time period. These two west coast cities were chosen due to their geographic spread and proximity to major ports as well as their difference in size. The phenomenon of logistics sprawl, or the movement of logistics facilities away from urban centers, which has been demonstrated in past research for the Atlanta and Paris regions, is examined for these two areas. The weighted geometric center of warehousing establishments was calculated for both areas for both years, along with the change in the average distance of warehouses to that center, an indicator of sprawl. We find that between 1998 and 2009, warehousing in Los Angeles sprawled considerably, with the average distance increasing from 25.91 to 31.96 miles, an increase of over 6 miles. However in Seattle, the region remained relatively stable, showing a slight decrease in average distance from the geographic center. Possible explanations for this difference are discussed.

Authors: Dr. Anne Goodchild, Laetitia Dablanc, Scott Ogilvie
Recommended Citation:
Dablanc, Laetitia, Scott Ogilvie, and Anne Goodchild. "Logistics sprawl: differential warehousing development patterns in Los Angeles, California, and Seattle, Washington." Transportation Research Record 2410, no. 1 (2014): 105-112.