Urban Freight Research (1972-2014)
Hopkins, Debbie; Kutzner, Diana; Ganve, Gaurav
The transportation sector is a major contributor to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and consequently, anthropogenic climate change. Transitioning to low-carbon policies, technologies and behaviours could provide opportunities for emissions reductions. Yet to date, there is little evidence of a meaningful and systemic low-carbon transport transition. Moreover, while there is some evidence of fossil fuel intensive private transport ‘peaking’, freight movements are growing. The urban freight industry in particular has undergone rapid transformation as social practices alter in the wake of information communication technologies and the Internet. Simultaneously, academic interest in urban freight delivery has grown. This paper represents the first attempt to take stock of this burgeoning literature, to sketch out the landscape, and to illuminate research gaps and priorities going forward. It presents the results of a quantitative systematic review of urban freight literature (n=265, 1972-2014), and a qualitative thematic review of a sub-sample of the literature (n=35) that were determined to have a sustainability focus. The paper reports on descriptive characteristics of the field, including the growth and direction of research, geographic focus and research themes. Findings are discussed in light of the need for radical GHG emissions reductions, and the contribution that urban freight research can make to this end.
Publisher: Centre for Sustainability, University of Otago
Keywords: Urban freight, courier, sustainability, systematic review, carbon intensity
Research Type: Project Report
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