Research: Location of urban micro-consolidation centers to reduce the social cost of last-mile deliveries

Urban deliveries of goods have become a rising challenge due to the increase of online shopping and the traditional business-to-business (B2B) dynamics. To maintain a satisfactory level of service, carriers must conduct delivery operations under restrictive environments, creating undesirable externalities such as congestion and pollution.

Urban micro-consolidation centers (UMCs) are defined as on-street or off-street spaces where all the deliveries within a certain radius are dropped and reconsolidated to be delivered by more sustainable last-leg modes. Their primary purpose is to mitigate such negative externalities.

Recent research by Konstantina Katsela et al. formulates the last-mile delivery problem assisted by UMCs as a mixed-integer quadratically-constrained program. Furthermore, it develops a greedy heuristic solution inspired by the decomposition algorithms for large-scale optimization. The simulation results and a case study in Manhattan, New York, show how the heuristic provides good results concerning the exact solution while also highlighting how its solution can be utilized for freight-efficient urban design and policy planning.

Source: Konstantina Katsela, Şeyma Güneş, Travis Fried, Anne Goodchild, Michael Browne, Defining Urban Freight Microhubs: A Case Study Analysis, Sustainability, 10.3390/su14010532, 14, 1, (532), (2022).Crossref

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