Assesment of the potential of cargo bikes and electrification for last-mile parcel delivery by means of simulation of urban freight flows

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Abstract

Background: The paper presents a simulation model for freight. In the paper, this model is applied to understand the impacts of electric vans and cargo bikes for the last-mile delivery of parcels. Cargo bikes are electrically assisted vehicles that distribute parcels from micro depots located close to the final customers by means of short tours. The parcels are sent from the major distribution center to micro depots in vans (called feeders). Materials and methods: An agent-based model is used for the purpose of the paper. The model is based on the disaggregation of commodity flows to represent trucks (for all commodities) and individual shipments (for parcel deliveries). The model represents microscopically every freight vehicle in the study area. Results: The simulation of various scenarios with different shares of cargo bikes and electric vans assesses the impacts of electrification and cargo bikes. The use of cargo bikes to deliver parcels allows to reduce the number of motorized vehicles, although the presence of large parcels requires that at least half of deliveries by vans are still required. The shift to cargo bikes represents a slight increase in the total operating time to deliver the parcel demand. With low shares of cargo bikes, the total distance traveled increases, since the reduction of van tours cannot compensate the additional feeder trips from distribution centers to micro depots. The cargo bikes also do not reduce the number of vehicles for the served area, but modify the composition of vehicle types. Low noise, smaller, low emission vehicles increase, while delivery vans are reduced. Conclusion: Both cargo bikes and electric vans are able to reduce CO2 emissions, even after accounting for the emissions related to electricity production.

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APA

Llorca, C., & Moeckel, R. (2021). Assesment of the potential of cargo bikes and electrification for last-mile parcel delivery by means of simulation of urban freight flows. European Transport Research Review, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12544-021-00491-5

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