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SNAPSHOT -Understanding transport properties of e-commerce

The main objective of the project is to improve the decision-making of authorities through increased knowledge about the mobility of e-commerce shipments.

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The past few years have witnessed a continuous growth in e-commerce, which has led to a shift in logistics and transport. More items are bought outside the traditional retail sale and instead delivered directly to the consumer. This has consequences for many parties. The consumers´ travel habits change, and the delivery routines of the carriers change. Businesses tries to adapt, while the activity at delivery points is increasing.

SNAPSHOT aims to increase knowledge of the effects this has on the entire transport system. This is done by studying methods for collecting and analysing relevant data from both consumers and carriers. With advanced methods of analysis, the research team aims to increase the understanding of the journey from businesses to consumers. By focusing on the mobility of the goods, we get a holistic approach to the problem, compared to a limited focus on mobility of either persons or carriers. Considering the current focus on the climate effects of transport, it is important to facilitate both transport of goods and persons in the most efficient and climate-friendly way possible. This is especially true in cities, where increased volumes of transport may have major effects. Therefore, SNAPSHOT will also provide guidelines on how cities can include data and knowledge about e-commerce in transport planning and regulation. This is done in close collaboration with urban municipalities and authorities participating in the project.

During the start-up period, the project focused on finding relevant use cases for urban municipalities, to exemplify how data on the mobility of goods can be turned into useful knowledge. The use cases that were identified in the project are:

  1. Parcel lockers, which are digital lockable boxes, in which carriers deliver parcels ordered online. Each box is installed with a digital lock, connected to an application system, giving the carrier a limited time to access the box. The main advantage of this system is that carriers can deliver parcels when the consumer is unable to be present to receive it. This way, the consumer will get the package the first time the carrier attempts to deliver it. This contributes to reduce the number of failed deliveries, which may contribute to decrease the overall CO2 emissions from deliveries. All carriers (pre-qualified) may have a permit to be able to use the parcel stands. So, this system offers a parcel stand and location supporting both the supply side (carriers) and the demand side (consumers).
  2. Public procurement made online. This use case will focus on mapping the procurement process, especially related to the delivery process and the transport work associated with public procurement. Here we seek to gain knowledge about the connection between criteria in public procurement and the scope of transport work via various distribution methods and how it affects the value chain from order to delivery. By optimizing all stages of this process, the procurement process in the municipalities can contribute to cuts in climate emissions related to procurement.
  3. E-groceries, ie home delivery of groceries ordered online. This can be several different delivery services such as groceries or meal boxes delivered to your home by an independent carrier. The main purpose of the use case is to map which delivery offers are most used and how the willingness to pay for climate-friendly deliveries is. It is also interesting to examine the size of vehicles used for such types of deliveries, what kind of fuel they use, and what kind of availability they have in different neighborhoods.

In 2021, SNAPSHOT has taken a closer look at methods for data collection and analysis, and has made a review of which data sources are used for which purpose. This work can be used as a guideline to map which data should be collected in each individual use case.

In the project, a substantial work has been done to study planning processes in Norwegian urban municipalities. The work is summarized in a research article where three different approaches are presented and compared: a traditional, an experimental and a hybrid.

The project will arrange an international scientific conference 16-17. June 2022 in Trondheim, where the theme is the integration of online shopping in urban mobility planning.

Key Factors

Project duration

2020 - 2022

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