Sustainable Urban Freight Coalition

National Support Structure for Cost Emission Reduction from Urban Freight in India.

Research Papers

Electric vehicles in the last mile of urban freight transportation: A sustainability assessment of postal deliveries in Rio de JaneiroBrazil
Renata Albergaria de Mello Bandeira et al. | Transportation Research, 2019

This paper proposes a method to assess alternative strategies for the last-mile of parcel deliveries, in terms of social, environmental, and economic impacts and presents an application to assess the distribution strategy of a postal company located in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Literature points to the reduction of the dimensions of vehicles, as well as to the migration of the propulsion source to electric energy, as sustainable alternatives for last mile deliveries in urban areas. For that reason, we opted to evaluate the use of electric vehicles of smaller dimensions, tricycle and LDV, in the last mile of parcel deliveries, assessing two alternative scenarios: one with the use of electric LDV type BEV; and the other with electric tricycles. Results indicated that the use electric tricycle is a more feasible alternative regarding the economic, environmental and social aspects, demanding no public incentives.


Electric mobility in European urban freight and logistics – status and attempts of improvement
Stanislaw Iwan et al. | Transportation Research Procedia, 2019

Analyses of the potentials of electric mobility in commercial transport have shown that in terms of trip patterns and daily mileage EVs are suitable for urban freight transport and city logistics. The deployment of EVs could reduce exhaust and noise emissions. But the potential is not being exploited, and there are only a few vehicles in use in commercial fleets. This paper will give insights into the status of electric mobility in European urban freight and logistics. The paper introduces the potential for the further implementation and development of electric vehicles in city logistics, based on the activities realized under EUFAL (Electric urban freight and logistics) project, realized under the ERA-NET Cofund Electric Mobility Europe.    

Dynamic investigation on a new robotized vehicle for urban freight transport
Paolo Silvestri, Matteo Zoppi, Rezia Molfino | Simulation Modeling and Practice, 2019

The paper presents and discusses modelling and simulation of a robotic vehicle called FURBOT, designed for last mile delivery of freights. The focus is on the design process through simulation to meet requirements typical of a robot as well as automotive performance as for a commercial van. It is introduced the original concept of vehicle self-adapting its configuration and speed to ensure stability and integrity of the load and to protect the chassis itself from overload and mechanical fatigue, making possible a leaner sizing of the chassis structures and so higher payload to overall mass. FURBOT is small, dexterous, thought to work in fleet, suitable for e-commerce market and endowed with a robotized system for loading/unloading the freight. A virtual prototype of the vehicle is implemented to predict with sufficient accuracy, yet from the first steps of the design process, the reaction and performance against typical driving conditions typical of vehicle development; control logics are consequently derived.    

B-Line Sustainable Urban Delivery: Can Last-Mile Bicycle Delivery Survive The E-Commerce Minefield?
Madeleine Pullman et al. | oikos Free Case Collection, 2019

As the population of cities in the western United States continues to boom, the demand for retail and wholesale food has followed suit. To deal with the accompanying increase in traffic and congestion from population and business growth, the city of Portland planned to increase bikeways and reduce the use of single-occupant vehicles to less than 30% of total commuters by 2026. Despite efforts to decrease dependence on vehicles, traffic congestion in Portland continued to increase, and traditional vehicle delivery in the urban area became less and less efficient. As ride-sharing services and online retailers increased their presence in the food delivery business, these activities contributed even more to congestion. Consequently, there was a pressing need for alternative methods of business-to-business delivery options in the food business. B-Line, a certified B Corp, was created to address traffic congestion and decrease vehicular carbon emissions by using cargo tricycles to deliver local food and other products to businesses within the Portland city center. Started in 2009 by Franklin Jones, BLine offered sustainability-oriented food companies a comprehensive logistics service including warehousing, fulfillment, advertising, and even office space. However, nine years after their first delivery, the company faced challenges from competitors such as Amazon Prime Now, other bicycle delivery firms, and traditional last-mile delivery firms. This case explores the challenges and opportunities of having a sustainability mission in the last mile delivery space.    

A Theoretical Research Framework of Future Sustainable Urban Freight Transport for Smart Cities
Zhangyuan He, Hans-Dietrich Haasis | Sustainability, 2019

This paper aims to construct a theoretical research framework for sustainable urban freight transport (SUFT) from the perspectives of future urban development and distribution innovations, and appropriate research methods are discussed, as well. Urban freight transport plays a critical role in the promotion of sustainable and livable cities. According to the literature review, considerable research on SUFT has focused on resolving some specific problems with a short-term perspective. The existence of an urban freight transport strategy is noted, which should be embedded in an overall sustainable development strategy with a long-term perspective (approximately 20–30 years). Nevertheless, considerable research has paid scant attention to the long-term planning of SUFT. Given this, this paper contributes to the closure of this gap. First, this paper presents a systematic literature review (SLR) to highlight published papers involving foresight research within the past 16 years (2003–2018). This step contributes to the understanding of research methods that can be used in foresight research. Subsequently, this paper discusses the impacts of both urban development and distribution innovations on future SUFT, and these effects are used to select the appropriate methods to construct the theoretical research framework. Finally, the theoretical research framework of long-term planning for SUFT is developed on the basis of two future perspectives: the trends of urban development and the application of urban distribution innovations. This framework is intended to provide an approach to designing sustainable urban logistics, taking into account urban development and distribution innovations.    

Sustainable crowdshipping using public transport: a case study evaluation in Rome
Simone Serafini et al. | Transportation Research Proceedia, 2018

The paper analyses the willingness to act as a crowdshipper in the case of a last mile B2C e-commerce for pick up/delivery. Specifically, it focuses on crowdshipping services deployed using the public transport network and considering passengers as crowdshippers already moving for other reasons. In fact, this is the most environmental-friendly type of service one can develop given it avoids performing dedicated trips. The paper uses stated preference to identify the most important features associated with the choice of acting as a crowdshipper and discrete choice models to study the underlying behavior. The implementation case study refers to the city of Rome, Italy, and addresses its metro lines, thus understanding and quantifying the effects of this freight transport strategy for e-commerce in an urban context and providing local policy makers a good knowledge base for its future development.


Modelling urban freight generation: A case study of seven cities in Kerala, India
Agnivesh Pani et al. | Transport Policy, 2018

This paper presents a set of freight generation (FG) models for seven cities in Kerala, India. Models were formulated by considering business size variables that capture establishment freight activity. Model estimation results revealed that business size indicators such as number of employees and gross floor area explained the freight generation well. Number of years in business (YB) was identified as another variable and considered in model specification to estimate FG. Detailed investigation of single variable FG models suggested that employment-based models are suitable for cities with dense commercial activities and higher land value, while area-based models better represented FG in cities with medium level of urbanization. Area appears to be a skewed indicator for representing business size in cities with dense commercial activities. In this case, where acquiring area is difficult, employment may be a better representative of growth in freight activity. As an extension of city specific FG models, three types of combined FG models were developed to provide quantitative statistical evidence for differences in model specifications across the cities. The statistical findings from these models suggest that freight activities are influenced by the interaction of establishment characteristics and its location. Interaction effect is more prominent when area is used to represent the business size. Since a systematic commodity flow survey practice is absent in India, planners and policy makers can be benefited from this study while making decisions on freight specific investment schemes and freight operation strategies. The interaction FG models discussed subsequently in this study may be utilized in transportation planning application for the state, regional and corridor level network capacity needs.


Modelling Intermodal Freight Transportation Promotion for Sustainable Supply Chain in India
Aalok Kumar, A Ramesh | Sustainable Options in India, 2018

Freight transportation planning is an important part of the country’s economy. Due to increased demand of the freight in today’s supply chain, an optimal mix of existing mode of transportation is required. Intermodal freight transportation is a combination of at least two different modes of transportation. In this chapter, a levelized cost analysis method is used to determine the total levelized cost of the vehicle over its useful life. Also, the total cost varies due to externalities with the given length of route. An intermodal shift of the rail–road mode is also calculated and the optimal cost corresponding to that route was found. In this chapter, all the parameters related to the levelized cost of vehicle is fixed and averaged for a given route length.    

Modelling alternative distribution set-ups for fragmented last mile transport: Towards more efficient and sustainable urban freight transport
Bram Kina et al. | Case Studies on Transport Policies, 2018

A mathematical model is developed to calculate the costs of alternative distribution set-ups for last mile transportation in a supply chain with small and fragmented volumes. The model is based on input from logistics cost models for urban areas combined with cost variables related to logistics processes, receiver attributes and local city characteristics. The cost variables for each aspect (logistics, receiver, city) influence the cost-effectiveness and applicability of an alternative distribution set-up. The model is applied on the delivery of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) towards small independent retailers in a megacity. The current supply of these stores is characterized by high costs, inefficiency and unsustainability. Four different set-ups are modelled. The model shows the effects of different city and store request parameters. When drop sizes are low and distances are short, direct shipments with smaller vehicles outperform the current direct set-up. When drop sizes are low and distances are long, collaborating in an urban consolidation centre (UCC) shows a saving. The model can be further validated with data from other cities and other distribution set-ups.


Assessing the sustainability of mobile depots: The case of urban freight distribution in Rio de Janeiro
Lino G.Marujoa et al. | Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 2018

To encourage the provision and use of more sustainable means of transportation, cities and companies are implementing a variety of measures, such as strengthening the use of public transportation infrastructure and services to alleviate traffic congestion and to democratize the urban space. In these cases, literature shows that the combined use of smaller vehicles and mobile depots is a practice to be explored more deeply. This paper focuses on the use of motorized cargo tricycles alongside conventional trucks in a mobile-depot-based procedure to accommodate the restrictions imposed on conventional freight vehicle access in densely populated areas. Therefore, a new method is proposed to identify the impact on service level, emissions footprint and delivery cost of this distribution strategy. Moreover, we assess the environmental benefits of this new distribution strategy by estimating the reduction in various pollutant emissions attributable to the adoption of smaller, more agile last-mile delivery vehicles. The analyses have shown that greenhouse gas emissions and local air quality pollutants can be significantly cut by the use of cargo tricycles and mobile depots in the last mile delivery. With respect to cost, we can show that the mobile-depot-based delivery setup yields slight cost advantages over the traditional setups for neighborhoods that are characterized by low average delivery drop sizes.