Research: crowd logistics for parcel deliveries in Paris

Crowd logistics is an opportunity for logistics service providers intending to improve customer service, reduce costs, and satisfy their customers. Companies should be asking themselves, “how else can the consumer acquire and use the types of goods or services I currently provide and how might I innovate to capitalize on these possibilities?”.

Parcel deliveries in Paris

City logistics constraints are stimulants to future sharing and collaborative consumption opportunities. In research by Paris researchers a model is proposed to enhance parcel delivery in urban centers and developed a solution based on the use of a network of neighbors to reduce the probability of delivery failure. An experiment with this model was tested in the 12th district of Paris. The simulation developed in this research helps to expand upon and implement this new solution. The contribution of this paper is threefold.

First, the research sheds light onto crowd logistics applied to urban deliveries by exploring the capability of the crowd to reduce delivery failure and to increase the service level (in particular about environmental and economic considerations). Secondly, the researchers propose a new approach towards modeling parcel delivery by individuals in urban areas to determine the number of neighbors and parcels to deliver. Finally, after setting the model’s parameters, they propose a new simulation environment.

Using data about parcel delivery in the 12th district of Paris and population density, the results show the potential of developing a network of neighbors to avoid delivery failure. From a managerial point of view, the model gives to the last mile parcel delivery service providers the basis to build a network of neighbors allowing the carrier to face the absence of customer during delivery, the parcel could be delivered to a member of the network.
The customer can then pick up his parcel or have it delivered by the Neighbor Relay. This alternative makes it possible to prevent new delivery and additional costs concerning the last mile in an urban dense area. From an environmental and sustainable point of view, crowd logistics might offer eco-friendly solutions. By using the available resources and avoiding delivery failures, fewer trips are needed for parcel delivery companies, leading to fewer carbon emissions and traffic congestion.

Social point of view

From a social point of view, this new design in urban logistics will increasingly become one of the most meaningful forms of competitive advantage, as it can cater to customers’ insatiable appetite for greater simplicity and convenience by adding a layer between service providers and end consumers. This solution also allows the crowd more interaction and promotes neighborliness.


The quantitative model presented describes this parcel delivery based on the crowd. Nevertheless, it has several limitations. The first limitation concerns customer’s distribution. In the Paris experiment, customers are assumed to be homogeneously distributed in the area. Even though the proposed solution is flexible, since the ranges for the radius associated with each neighbor relay as well as the gain are wide, it will be interesting to improve the model by examining the variation of the population density due to high-rise apartment buildings and unoccupied areas (e.g., gardens, parks, railways lines, etc.). This will make the gain associated with each neighbor courier more balanced. The second limitation concerns the standpoint of different stakeholders concerned about the solution.

Future research could focus on field surveys to account for its acceptability by the different actors. The maximum distance the neighbor or the customer accept to walk, the gain desired by the Neighbor Relay or the cost of this solution compared to the cost of a second delivery by the carrier are variables that should be considered for future research.


Akeb, H., Moncef, B., & Durand, B. (2018). Building a collaborative solution in dense urban city settings to enhance parcel delivery: An effective crowd model in Paris. Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review.

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