Sustainable Urban Freight Mobility through Optimization of Logistics Facility Locations

Sustainable Urban Freight Mobility through Optimization of Logistics Facility Locations
Evangelos I. Kaisar, Ph.D. (PI)
Professor, Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatics Engineering
Florida Atlantic University
Lili Du, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering
University of Florida

Proposal Summary and Objectives

The growing mitigation rates towards urban zones, global use of e-commerce and advancing technologies implemented in the logistics operations are the main contributors to the constant increase of product delivery volumes, especially in metropolitan areas. Furthermore, the need for sustainable development has been highlighted, due to the great extent that the matter of environmental impacts caused by transportation systems has taken in todays’ urban centers. These aspects provide a clear indication of the urban freight transport systems’ necessity of providing reliable, cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly services.

Logistics providers are required to address many strategic operational issues while designing their distribution networks. One of the most essential is the decision of where to position their transshipment and delivery facilities, as well as which of those facilities should serve each of the customers. The main motivation for conducting the study lies on the fact that typically freight operators locate their distribution centers outside the cities and deliver the products using trucks, traveling “door-to-door” to all the downtown destinations. This delivery approach causes many problems in urban areas, ranging from traffic congestion, increasing emissions, to higher delays. This project, considering the need for sustainability and cost-efficiency in city logistics, addresses this matter by developing a multi-objective novel mathematical framework for the capacitated facility location-allocation problem, an NP-Hard optimization problem, with the objectives of minimizing the costs for using the designated locations, the costs associated with the transportation of cargo to the allocated facilities and the distances between the chosen facilities and final destination nodes. The model selects the optimal number and locations of mini-hubs inside urban areas, where trucks will directly head from the main facility and unload the products. The products are further delivered by eco-friendly transportation means (e.g. handcarts, bicycles, self-picked up) to the final destinations, promoting sustainable delivery solutions and improving urban freight mobility.

Funding Amount: $100,000
Status: Complete
Duration: Jan. 11, 2019 - Jan. 11, 2020