Research: supply-chain-focused measures of centrality and spread in metropolitan areas

Efficient freight transportation is necessary for the economic development of markets in metropolitan areas. Without it, the cost of goods increases, and larger negative externalities are produced, negatively impacting the quality of life. In this context, the efficiency of supply chains is strongly influenced by the spatial patterns of economic activities, given the role, freight transportation plays in connecting the multiple stages of supply chains.

New research developed and tested data-driven metrics of centrality and spread of freight activity in metropolitan areas. The approach used in the paper identifies the economic pole(s) in metropolitan areas. It computes a new set of metrics to assess the physical separation between consecutive stages of supply chains. Three different metrics were used to identify the economic pole(s): (1) total employment, (2) employment density, and (3) an interaction index based on a gravity model that considers the interchanges among related economic sectors.

To estimate the spread of freight activity, the authors developed an approximation technique based on a simplified freight distribution model to estimate the average weighted shipment distance for various consecutive stages of supply chains. The proposed methodologies were tested on six metropolitan areas of various sizes.

Logistical mixed land use is becoming a strategy for expedited e-commerce deliveries in metropolitan areas and improving supply chain efficiency. Future research will focus on identifying urban sub-centers depending on the economic activity they belong to and their impacts on the demand for land.

Source: Rivera-Gonzalez, C., Holguin-Veras, J., & Calderon, O. (2023). Supply-chain-focused measures of centrality and spread in metropolitan areas. Journal of Transport Geography, 107, 103553.

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