Navigating the concrete jungle : Route planning in urban last-mile delivery

University essay from Umeå universitet/Institutionen för geografi

Abstract: The e-commerce market has developed massively since the 1990ies. In addition to a general change of shopping behavior, the COVID-pandemic increased the importance of online shopping. This study is about the transportation of e-commerce parcels on the last mile in urban areas, so called last-mile delivery. Special focus is put on innovative last mile solutions that reduce the externalities related to last-mile delivery. There are several factors that complicate the delivery on the last mile such as congestion, driving restrictions and meeting time-windows for customers. This study investigates to what extent the route planning for a fleet of vehicles can account for these various requirements and restrictions. The route planning was conducted in the GIS software ArcGIS Pro using the vehicle routing problem. The routes could be successfully planned and consider most of the relevant factors for last-mile delivery operations. The results indicate that traffic and congestion in cities can be accounted for which results in an average driving speed of 20km/h. The planned routes also indicate that not even 20% of the vehicle’s cargo capacity was used and that 60-65% of the total time is spent driving between orders. The study and its results are relevant to businesses and researchers in the field of last-mile delivery as the analysis of a real-world scenario highlights the possibilities and limitations of route planning on the last mile. 

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