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Chapter

New Urban Freight Developments and Land Use

Publication: Handbook on Transport and Land Use: A Holistic Approach in an Age of Rapid Technological Change
Volume: Chapter 22
Pages: 383-397
Publication Date: 2023
Summary:

Urban freight denotes vehicle and commodity flows in an urban environment. These flows depend on a complex set of relationships among various stakeholders. In the last decades, urban freight has experienced an incredible pace of evolution, which has occurred due to various technological factors. One example is the ubiquity of internet access and the advance in information technology, leading to e-commerce adoption. Another is the development of algorithms to forecast demand, design and maintain supply chains and plan vehicle routes. In this chapter, we summarize critical changes in urban freight developments and land use. We highlight the interactions between passenger and freight travel, the recent shifts in freight flows and associated planning needs.

Authors: Dr. Giacomo Dalla Chiara, André Alho, Takanori Sakai
Recommended Citation:
Alho, André, Takanori Sakai, and Giacomo Dalla Chiara. "New urban freight developments and land use." Handbook on Transport and Land Use: A Holistic Approach in an Age of Rapid Technological Change (2023): 383.

Measuring the Sustainability Impact of Misloaded Packages

The Urban Freight Lab and RFID device manufacturer Impinj are joining forces to create a conceptual framework aimed at assessing the repercussions of misloaded packages on Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) and emissions. Misloaded packages (packages placed on an incorrect delivery vehicle) can cause drivers to deviate from their intended routes miles to rectify the error, increasing both VMT and emissions. This collaborative effort will analyze the consequences of such incidents in order to optimize delivery efficiency, minimize environmental impacts, and contribute to more efficient and environmentally sustainable urban freight practices.

Background
Impinj, a leader in the manufacturing of radio frequency identification (RFID) devices, has developed a Misloaded Packages Carbon Calculator, a model that quantifies the environmental impact of misloaded packages. The Urban Freight Lab (UFL) is an internationally recognized laboratory with research experience in measuring behaviors and impacts of last-mile delivery systems.

Objective
The current project proposes a collaboration between Impinj and the UFL to:

  • Explore the operational and sustainability impacts of misloaded packages across different industry segments and communicate findings through a blog post.
  • Introduce a novel conceptual model framework based on the IMPINJ carbon calculator that could be implemented in a future project to estimate the marginal change in Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) and emissions from changes in the misload rate.

Project Outputs
The UFL team will output the following deliverables:

  • A presentation at the 2023 Impinj Executive Forum to introduce the Impinj-UFL collaboration and the model framework for the misload package carbon calculator
  • A blog post reporting on the operational impact of misloaded packages across different industry sectors, and reflection on the sustainability implications of changing the misload rate (percent of misload packages experienced in a typical day)
  • A conceptual model framework based on Impinj misload packages carbon calculator that take into account different behavioral responses to handle misload packages and different industry sectors

Tasks
The UFL team will complete the following tasks:

  1. The UFL research team will meet with Impinj executives and visit the facilities to learn how RFID technology can be leveraged to reduce misload rates and draft a preliminary list of Impinj customers UFL can interview.
  2. The UFL will present at the 2023 Impinj Executive Forum.
  3. Through Impinj introduction, the UFL team will reach out and schedule at least four interviews with practitioners to document the operational, behavioral and sustainability impacts of misload packages. Interviews will be conducted to cover different sectors, including urban, suburban, and long-haul deliveries.
  4. The UFL will write a draft blog post documenting the results from the interviews, discuss the potential environmental impact of reducing misload rates across different industry sectors, proposed a conceptual model framework on how companies can estimate the marginal change in Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) and emissions from changes in the misload rate.
Paper

Ecommerce and Logistics Sprawl: A Spatial Exploration of Last-Mile Logistics Platforms

 
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Publication: Journal of Transport Geography
Volume: 112
Publication Date: 2023
Summary:

The rise of ecommerce helped fuel consumer appetite for quick home deliveries. One consequence has been the placing of some logistics facilities in proximity to denser consumer markets. The trend departs from prevailing discussion on “logistics sprawl,” or the proliferation of warehousing into the urban periphery. This study spatially and statistically explores the facility- and region-level dimensions that characterize the centrality of ecommerce logistics platforms. Analyzing 910 operational Amazon logistics platforms in 89 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) between 2013 and 2021, this study estimates temporal changes in distances to relative, population centroids and population-weighted market densities. Results reveal that although some platforms serving last-mile deliveries are located closer to consumers than upstream distribution platforms to better fulfill time demands, centrality varies due to facility operating characteristics, market size, and when the platform opened.

Ecommerce has transformed the “consumption geography” of cities. These transformations have major implications for shopping behaviors and retail channels, last-mile operations and delivery mode choice, the management and pricing of competing uses for street and curb space, and the spatial ordering and functional role of logistics land uses. In the latter case, researchers have observed a diversification of logistics platforms to more efficiently serve home delivery demand. These platforms range from “dark stores” and “microfullfilment centers” that fulfill on-demand deliveries and omni-channeled retail without a consumer facing storefront, multi-use urban distribution centers that convert unproductive sites (e.g., abandoned rail depots) to more lucrative land uses, and “microhubs” that stage transloading between cargo vans and e-bicycles suited for dense urban neighborhoods.

Logistics spaces play an important role in improving urban livability and environmental sustainability. Planning decisions scale geographically from the region-level to the curb. Facilities such as urban consolidation centers and loading zones can mitigate common delivery inefficiencies, such as low delivery densities and “cruising” for parking, respectively. These inefficiencies generate many negative externalities including climate emissions, air and noise pollution, congestion, and heightened collision risks, especially for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and bicyclists. Limited commercial data has made it difficult, however, to observe spatial patterns with regards to ecommerce logistics platforms.

Using detailed proprietary data, this paper explores the evolving spatial organization of ecommerce logistics platforms. Given the company’s preeminence as the leading online retailer in the U.S., the paper presents Amazon as a case study for understanding warehousing and distribution (W&D) activity in the larger ecommerce space. Utilizing proprietary data on Amazon logistics facilities between 2013 and 2021, this research explores the geographic shape and explanatory dimensions of ecommerce within major U.S. metropolitan areas. In the following section, this study defines the state of research related to broader W&D land use and its implications to ecommerce’s distinct consumption geography. Afterwards, two methodologies for measuring logistics centrality are tested: a temporally relative barycenter-based metric, the prevailing method in literature, and another GIS-based, population-weighted service distance metric. The two measurements reveal nuances between facility- and region-level differences in the spatial organization of ecommerce platforms, which has yet to be fully researched. After presenting results from an exploratory regression analysis, this study discusses implications for future urban logistics land use and transport decisions.

Recommended Citation:
Fried, T., & Goodchild, A. (2023). E-commerce and logistics sprawl: A spatial exploration of last-mile logistics platforms. Journal of Transport Geography, 112, 103692. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2023.103692
Chapter

Overview on Stakeholder Engagement

Publication: Handbook on City Logistics and Urban Freight
Publication Date: 2023
Summary:

Until recently, urban transport authorities often overlooked freight, concentrating their attention on the movement of people. Even when motivated to tackle urban freight, many city authorities find it difficult to mobilize their own resources, and address the complex set of differing views of a large variety of stakeholders.

Historically, the role of city authorities, or local authorities within cities, has been confined largely to one of regulation as opposed to collaborative planning. Correspondingly, until recently there has been limited engagement of private companies in the local-authority transport-planning process.

Engaging stakeholders is very important as without their involvement it is very difficult to motivate changes in the urban freight and logistics system or design policies that might be mutually beneficial; successful implementation of effective urban logistics initiatives demands a solid understanding of both freight activity and the supply chains serving the urban area.

This chapter examines these issues and addresses how cities can more effectively engage with stakeholders. There is a strong need to identify obstacles, propose solutions and define implementation paths that consider the concerns of all stakeholders involved. This sounds rather straightforward but in practice there are many conflicts among and within public and private-interest groups and these often result in obstacles to success.

This chapter will address the range of complex issues involved and establish a framework for understanding the options related to stakeholder engagement to improve urban freight sustainability.

Authors: Dr. Anne Goodchild, Michael Browne (University of Gothenburg)
Recommended Citation:
Michael Browne & Anne Goodchild, 2023. "Overview on stakeholder engagement," Chapter in: Edoardo Marcucci & Valerio Gatta & Michela Le Pira (ed.), Handbook on City Logistics and Urban Freight, chapter 15, pages 311-326, Edward Elgar Publishing.

Biking the Goods: How North American Cities Can Prepare for and Promote Large-Scale Adoption

With the rise in demand for home deliveries and the boom of the e-bike market in the U.S., cargo cycles are becoming the alternative mode of transporting goods in urban areas. However, many U.S. cities are struggling to decide how to safely integrate this new mode of transportation into the pre-existing urban environment.

In response, the Urban Freight Lab is developing a white paper on how cities can prepare for and promote large-scale adoption of cargo cycle transportation. Sponsors include freight logistics providers, bicycle industry leaders, and agencies Bosch eBike Systems, Fleet Cycles, Gazelle USA, Michelin North America, Inc., Net Zero Logistics, the Seattle Department of Transportation, and Urban Arrow.

The Urban Freight Lab is internationally recognized as a leader in urban freight research, housing a unique and innovative workgroup of private and public stakeholders and academic researchers working together to study and solve urban freight challenges. The Urban Freight Lab has previously worked on evaluating, studying, and deploying cargo cycles in Asia and the U.S, and is recognized as an expert leader in North America on cargo cycle research.

Objectives
The objectives of the white paper are the following:

  1. Define and understand what types of cargo bikes exist in North America, their main features, how they are operated, and the infrastructure they need.
  2. Identify opportunities for and challenges to large-scale adoption of cargo cycles in North American cities.
  3. Learn from case studies of U.S. cities’ approaches to regulating and promoting cargo cycles.
  4. Provide recommendations for how cities can safely recognize, enable and encourage large-scale adoption of cargo bikes, including infrastructure, policy, and regulatory approaches.
Article, Special Issue

Urban Logistics: From Research to Implementation

 
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Publication: Research in Transportation Business & Management (RTBM)
Volume: 45 (A)
Publication Date: 2022
Summary:

To address the accessibility and sustainability challenges of urban logistics it is important to consider urban logistics from a number of perspectives.

This includes considering:

  • spatial context i.e. not focusing solely on the urban center or core but also in terms of actions taken in broader logistics and supply chain management.
  • stakeholders i.e. including all key decision makers and constituents.
  • complexity and heterogeneity of activities (range of vehicles used, the products carried, location of distribution centers, and the variety found in city size, form, and governance).

This diversity of perspectives, and their influence on the urban freight system, makes it challenging to identify simple solutions to problems.

A number of forces are also at work impacting change in the urban logistics system. Technological innovation affecting urban logistics includes digitalization, e.g. the Internet of Things (important in terms of connected objects) and big data. These developments are already established and beginning to have an impact or at least implications in the field of urban logistics and freight transport. However, problems will not be solved by technology alone and it is essential to understand how behavior (at the individual and corporate level) influences outcomes and needs to change. Research needs to address interactions between stakeholders and the role of city authorities in promoting innovation and change.

Cities are complex environments and urban logistics has to adapt to these demands. The complexity of cities also gives rise to a debate about the extent to which problems (and their possible solutions) may be considered context-specific. This leads to questions relating to how initiatives should be scaled up to gain greater traction in dealing with challenges now and in the future. It is important to learn as much as possible from the high number of projects and new services that have been implemented in cities over the past ten years. These range from initiatives related to electric vehicles, through locker box systems and the role of the receiver in making change happen. How to learn and then apply the lessons from projects is an important question. In many cases it has been argued that the underlying business model has not been addressed successfully leading to the problem of projects lasting only as long as some form of project funding is available.

Authors: Dr. Anne Goodchild, Michael Browne (University of Gothenburg)
Recommended Citation:
Michael Browne, Anne Goodchild. Urban Logistics: From Research to Implementation, Research in Transportation Business & Management, Volume 45 (A) 2022, 100913, ISSN 2210-5395, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rtbm.2022.100913.
Presentation

Exploring the Sustainability Potential of Urban Delivery Microhubs and Cargo Bike Deliveries

 
Publication: 9th International Urban Freight Conference, Long Beach, May 2022
Publication Date: 2022
Summary:

Micro-consolidation implementations and pairing with soft transportation modes offer practical, economic, environmental, and cultural benefits. Early implementations of micro consolidation practices were tested but cities need to understand their implications in terms of efficiency and sustainability.

This study includes a research scan and proposes a typology of micro-consolidation practices. It focuses on assessing the performance of microhubs that act as additional transshipment points where the packages are transported by trucks and transferred onto e-bikes to complete the last mile.

The purpose of the study is to assess the performance of delivery operations using a network of microhubs with cargo logistics and identify the conditions under which these solutions can be successfully implemented to improve urban freight efficiencies and reduce emissions. The performance is evaluated in terms of vehicle miles traveled, tailpipe CO2 emissions, and average operating cost per package using simulation tools.

Recommended Citation:
Şeyma Güneş and Anne Goodchild (2022). Exploring the Sustainability Potential of Urban Delivery Microhubs and Cargo Bike Deliveries. 9th International Urban Freight Conference (INUF), Long Beach, CA May 2022.
Technical Report

Year Two Progress Report: Technology Integration to Gain Commercial Efficiency for the Urban Goods Delivery System, Meet Future Demand for City Passenger and Delivery Load/Unload Spaces, and Reduce Energy Consumption

 
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Publication: U.S. Department of Energy
Publication Date: 2021
Summary:

The objectives of this project are to develop and implement a technology solution to support research, development, and demonstration of data processing techniques, models, simulations, a smart phone application, and a visual-confirmation system to:

  1. Reduce delivery vehicle parking seeking behavior by approximately 20% in the pilot test area, by returning current and predicted load/unload space occupancy information to users on a web-based and/or mobile platform, to inform real-time parking decisions
  2. Reduce parcel truck dwell time in pilot test areas in Seattle and Bellevue, Washington, by approximately 30%, thereby increasing productivity of load/unload spaces near common carrier locker systems, and
  3. Improve the transportation network (which includes roads, intersections, warehouses, fulfillment centers, etc.) and commercial firms’ efficiency by increasing curb occupancy rates to roughly 80%, and alley space occupancy rates from 46% to 60% during peak hours, and increasing private loading bay occupancy rates in the afternoon peak times, in the pilot test area.

The project team has designed a 3-year plan to achieve the objectives of this project.

In Year 1, the team developed integrated technologies and finalized the pilot test parameters. This involved finalizing the plan for placing sensory devices and common parcel locker systems on public and private property; issuing the request for proposals; selecting vendors; and gaining approvals necessary to execute the plan. The team also developed techniques to preprocess the data streams from the sensor devices, and began to design the prototype smart phone parking app to display real-time load/unload space availability, as well as the truck load/unload space behavior model.

In Year 2, the team executed the implementation plan:

  • oversaw installation of the in-road sensors, and collecting and processing data,
  • managed installation, marketing and operations of three common locker systems in the pilot test area,
  • tested the prototype smart phone parking app with initial data stream, and
  • developed a truck parking behavior simulation model.
Recommended Citation:
Urban Freight Lab (2021). Year Two Progress Report: Technology Integration to Gain Commercial Efficiency for the Urban Goods Delivery System.
Article

Deliver it All: In an Age of Expanding Online Commerce, Is Home Delivery Greener Than Sending Full Truckloads of Goods to Stores and Then Customers Driving to Them?

Publication: Supply Chain Management Review
Pages: 20-26
Publication Date: 2016
Summary:

In an age of expanding online commerce, is home delivery greener than sending full truckloads of goods to stores and then customers driving to them? A detailed regional study finds compelling answers.

Readers who were teenagers in the 1980s may remember driving to a Sam Goody store to buy music. You probably also remember your disappointment when sometimes the tape or CD wasn’t in stock when you arrived. Perhaps you returned to your car and headed for Tower Records to try your luck there.

Your kids would probably find this story inconceivable today. The advent of the internet has profoundly altered consumer expectations. Immediate gratification is getting closer by the day; you can now obtain your favorite song in seconds, and order and receive physical goods in as little as a few hours in some urban areas.

Today’s ninth-grader expects to find any product she wants in seconds and order it right away on her smartphone. What’s more, she expects that the order will be accurate, complete, well-packed, and easy to return if desired.

Authors: Dr. Anne GoodchildBill Keough, Erica Wygonik
Recommended Citation:
Goodchild, Anne Victoria, Erica Wygonik, and Bill Keough. "Deliver it all." Supply Chain Management Review (2016).