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Automation, electrification, and shared mobility in urban freight: opportunities and challenges

UCD-ITS-RP-20-28

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Sustainable Freight

Automation, electrification, and shared mobility are 3 the Revolutions (3Rs) in the passenger transport sector that have resulted in efficiency improvements, cost reductions, and low carbon emissions. Although there is interest about their implementation in freight transportation, the development of multiple 3Rs initiatives in freight represent a challenge for academics and practitioners, especially to anticipate potential obstacles in last mile operations. Consequently, this paper discusses the challenges and opportunities for the introduction of the 3Rs in the last mile. Specifically, the paper provides an overview of different technologies, at different levels of market readiness, and explores their benefits and/or unintended consequences. The main contribution of this exploratory research is informing the current state of the 3Rs and providing insights to develop policies, plans or initiatives that promote these revolutions in the urban freight system.
Key words: 3Rs, drone, robots, electric trucks, all automated trucks, electric bikes, last mile deliveries