Publication Detail

Overview of Innovations in Urban Freight


Book Chapter

Sustainable Freight Research Program

Suggested Citation:
Jaller, Miguel, Anmol Pahwa, Carlos Otero-Palencia, Elham Pourrahmani (2023) Overview of Innovations in Urban Freight. Handbook on City Logistics and Urban Freight, 382 - 397

This chapter discusses innovations in urban freight, concentrating on changes in consumer behavior and retail distribution by the advent of omni-channel retailing and the rapid growth of e-commerce. The chapter provides an overview of the relevant impacts on the system, such as changes in logistics structures; information and data management; considerations of passenger and freight travel substitution, complementarity, and induced demand effects; last-mile delivery practices and services (e.g., expedited deliveries, cargo bikes, micro-hubs, zero-emission vehicles); and other innovations that have the potential to fundamentally change how logistics systems are planned and operated in the form of hyperconnected systems. In addition, this chapter discusses a few new, automated technologies (e.g., aerial unmanned delivery vehicles and autonomous delivery robots), and delivery practices brought about by developments in information and communication technologies and the shared economy (e.g., app-based crowdsourced delivery services). Throughout the discussion, the authors provide insights about the sustainability of the new behaviors and innovations, and ultimately put forward some research recommendations.

Key words: e-commerce, information technologies, last-mile distribution, automation, shared economy, sustainability
Book editors:  Edoardo Marcucci, Valerio Gatta, Michela Le Pira