Operational performance of light electric freight vehicles in the last mile: two Nordic case studies

A recent paper aims to provide operational insights into the use of cargo cycles, utilizing delivery data from two case studies and interviews. It demonstrates the circumstances under which cargo cycles can complement vans effectively. Cargo bikes can only replace certain activities within a transport system. Their practical implementation in cities depends on various factors, including operational, vehicular, infrastructural, workforce, organizational, and policy considerations. These different factors can act as enablers or barriers for cargo bikes. Consequently, a mixed fleet is likely to be the most efficient approach.

Due to unavailable data, the researchers did not include the costs of transshipment facilities in the comparison. Moreover, differences in scale, subsidies, local context, and types of goods between the case studies would limit the usefulness of such a comparison.

The researchers examine a single-tier network for last-mile delivery. The results indicate that cargo bikes are most effective for transporting smaller packages in areas with high customer density and many difficult stops for larger vehicles to access. They also discuss some drawbacks and challenges associated with using cargo bikes effectively.

Cargo bikes offer several benefits but also come with significant drawbacks. Despite the potential of cargo bikes and other LEFVs to deliver a higher proportion of goods, various barriers have prevented their transition from niche to mainstream. If LEFVs are adopted more widely, issues such as competition for space on sidewalks and bike lanes and the need for regulations addressing their use of infrastructure could become more prevalent.

Click here for the paper.

Also read: Light Electric Freight Vehicles – beyond the hype

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