City logistics 2019: new innovative technologies

This week the International Conference on City Logistics is taking place in Dubrovnik (Croatia). Prof. Eiichi Taniguchi and Russell Thompson opened the conference with an overview of new innovative technologies and future research themes based on a review of the conference papers.

The Internet of Things (IoT) provides many opportunities for incorporating city logistics solutions within smart city initiatives. Social cost-benefit analysis allows the benefits of reduced direct and indirect externalities (health, noise, emissions, and space) from city Logistics solutions to be incorporated into project evaluation procedures but requires analysis of exposure levels of population and prediction of freight demand to be undertaken.

New optimization and simulation models are required for promoting the implementation of shared parcel locker systems, crowd shipping as well as electric and autonomous vehicles. Multi-agent and multi-actor modeling approaches provide an effective means to understand, predict and evaluate the impacts and response to city logistics solutions. Vehicle routing and scheduling problems have recently been extended to include consideration of electric freight vehicles and drones to improve the efficiency and sustainability of urban freight systems.

Modeling city logistics

Modeling city logistics using recent innovative technologies including ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems), ICT (Information and Communication Technology), IoT (Internet of Things), big data and AI (Artificial Intelligence) is promising for evolving smart city logistics. Vehicle routing and scheduling with time windows models, multi-agent models, multi-actor multi-criteria models, and location routing models have been studied and applied in a great number of case studies for sustainable urban freight transport.
Evaluating the city logistics policy measures using these mathematical models is required to understand their effects before implementing them in advance. As several stakeholders have different objectives, the evaluation using multiple criteria was often executed.

Innovative city logistics concepts

Innovative city logistics solutions have been proposed including shared parcel locker systems, crowd shipping, and (autonomous) electric vehicles for delivery. Parcel lockers provide a better solution for receivers to pick up goods and for freight carriers to reduce their delivery costs. Crowd shipping and social delivery networks have huge potential for reducing the number of vehicles used for delivery. Electric vehicles (also drones, autonomous vehicles, and light electric vehicles) give good solutions for carbon-neutral city logistics.

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