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Combining pickups and deliveries in vehicle routing – An assessment of carbon emission effects

Combining pickups and deliveries in vehicle routing – An assessment of carbon emission effects

Category
Journal publication
Abstract
This paper studies the effect on carbon emissions of consolidation of shipments on trucks. New positioning and communication technologies, as well as decision support systems for vehicle routing, enable better utilization of vehicle capacity, reduced travel distance, and thereby carbon emission reductions. We present a novel carbon emission analysis method that determines the emission savings obtained by an individual transport provider, who receives customer orders for outbound deliveries as well as pickup orders from supply locations. The transport provider can improve vehicle utilization by performing pickups and deliveries jointly instead of using separate trucks. In our model we assume that the transport provider minimizes costs by use of a tool that calculates detailed vehicle routing plans, i.e., an assignment of each transport order to a specific vehicle in the fleet, and the sequence of customer visit for each vehicle. We compare a basic set-up, in which pickups and deliveries are segregated and performed with separate vehicles, with two consolidation set-ups where pickups and deliveries may be mixed more or less freely on a single vehicle. By allowing mixing, the average vehicle load will increase and the total driven distance will decrease. To compare carbon emissions for the three set-ups, we use a carbon assessment method that uses the distance driven and the average load factor. An increase in the load factor can reduce part of the emission savings from consolidation. We find that emission savings are relatively large in case of small vehicles and for delivery and pickup locations that are relatively far from the depot. However, if a truck visits many demand and supply locations before returning to the depot, we observe negligible carbon emission decreases or even emission increases for consolidation set-ups, meaning that in such cases investing in consolidation through joint pickups and deliveries may not be effective. The results of our study will be useful for transport users and providers, policymakers, as well as vehicle routing technology vendors.
Client
  • Norges forskningsråd / 246825
Language
English
Author(s)
Affiliation
  • Aarhus University
  • SINTEF Digital / Mathematics and Cybernetics
Year
2017
Published in
Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies
ISSN
0968-090X
Volume
80
Page(s)
117 - 132