Coping with the Rise of E-Commerce Generated Home Deliveries Through Innovative Last-Mile Technologies and Strategies

To keep pace with the growing demands of e-commerce, last-mile operators and academics have developed, evaluated, tested or implemented various last-mile strategies around the globe. These include the use of consolidation (e.g., urban consolidation centers, staging areas, delivery hubs) facilities and/or collection points (e.g., lockers, pick-up and drop-off centers) coupled with use of alternate fuel delivery vehicles, such as electric trucks, cargo bikes, autonomous delivery robots (ADRs) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones), or the use of new delivery services (e.g., crowdshipping). However, the literature has mostly focused on studying such technologies or strategies independently, and research is still needed to understand how these could work under an integrated system. Therefore, the objective of this project is to build-on past research to explicitly model and evaluate the integrated system. In doing so, the team will develop a Time-Dependent Stochastic Capacitated Vehicle Routing and Facility Location (TD-S-CVRP-FL) model to evaluate various last-mile strategies/technologies; develop a cost-based assessment of such strategies and technologies; and identify those conditions in which different technologies thrive. With this, the authors expect to develop an unprecedented understanding of the capabilities of different last-mile strategies and policies under varied environments. Furthermore, this work will establish the spatial and temporal impacts of vehicle movements in the network, and the associated costs, and emissions.

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