Crowd-based city logistics

Rapid urban growth has posed both challenges and opportunities for city planners, not in
the least when it comes to the design of urban freight systems. But urbanization also fosters innovation and sharing, which have led to new models for organizing urban freight, e.g. crowd based logistics.

Crowd based logistics

In a new publication researchers highlight one of the new business models for urban freight: Crowd Based City Logistics. They define the features of crowd logistics, review applications of crowd-based services within urban environments, and discuss research opportunities in the area of crowd logistics.

Crowd logistics, i.e., involving the crowd in freight related activities, is one of the strategies that may help achieve the goals of city logistics. Despite its significant potential, it is far from obvious how to best use the crowd for logistics services, from an economical, societal and environmental point of view. There is no commonly accepted definition of crowd logistics and of who constitutes the crowd, and yet crowd logistics, one way or another, will play an important role in city logistics.

Research topics

The authors discuss the following research topics:

  • Consolidation using existing flows, which avoids the need for additional resources to be put on the heavily congested infrastructure, thus leading to more sustainable logistics services.
  • Willingness to participate, which is critical to the success of a crowd logistics market, and involves both the supply of capacity and the demand for capacity in the market.
  • Scale and dynamics, which, for crowd logistics, are significantly different from more traditional logistics services, as the number of participants (both on the supply and the demand side) tends to be much larger and their entry and exit faster and less predictable.


Check out the full publication here.

Source: Crowd-based City Logistics by Afonso Sampaio, Martin Savelsbergh, Lucas Veelenturf, and Tom Van Woensel (publication by Supply Chain Logistics Institute)

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