Managing the Growth of Last-mile Deliveries and Curb Space Demand

Principal Investigator(s):

Alireza Khani, Assistant Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project summary:

According to the United States Census Bureau's Quarterly E-Commerce Report, e-commerce sales in the United States have increased at an average annual rate of 16 percent in the past two decades. This rapid growth of e-commerce and package/service deliveries is creating new challenges in urban areas. Static strategies to manage parking and allocate curb space, currently utilized for the most part in urban areas across the US, have not kept pace with the rapid change observed on the demand side. There is a lack of conceptual approaches and analytic methods to manage scarce resources and reduce environmental impacts. This project leverages expertise from two universities, Portland State University (PSU) and University of Minnesota (UMN), and attempts to accomplish 1) model the allocation and benefits of new delivery systems (such as shared lockers) to improve last-mile efficiency, 2) model the utilization of existing parking and curb resources by different delivery environments, vehicle types, and new delivery systems, and 3) to outline best practices and policy guidelines to deal with the growth of e-commerce and package/service deliveries. The growth of e-commerce is blurring traditional definitions and categories. This research addresses both the growth of deliveries for services and packages. For example, Uber Eats and Instacart can be considered both meal and grocery delivery services whereas FedEx and UPS are more traditional package delivery companies. Some companies are fleet based (e.g., UPS) whereas others can be crowdsourced (e.g., Instacart). However, both types of companies utilize parking/curb space, and therefore are within the scope of this research.

Project details: