A Time-Efficiency Study of Medium-Duty Trucks Delivering in Urban Environments
Journal article, 2020

This paper uses data from a major logistics service provider in Gothenburg (Sweden) to (i) identify the different activities in a typical urban distribution tour, (ii) quantify the time required by drivers to perform each of these activities, and (iii) identify potential initiatives to improve time efficiency. To do so, the authors collected GPS data, conducted a time-study of the activities performed by the drivers for a week, conducted a focus group with the drivers, and a set of interviews with managers. The results show that driving represents only 30% of the time, another 15% is spent on breaks, and the remaining 55% is used to perform activities related to customer service, freight handling, and planning. The latter are subdivided into multiple activities, each taking a small amount of time. A focus group with the drivers and some interviews revealed several initiatives to improve time efficiency. Most initiatives can bring small gains, but when aggregating all potential time savings there is a big potential to improve overall time efficiency. Initiatives with highest potential and low cost are: providing better pre-advice on upcoming customers, improving route planning, having hand-free cell phone use, and enhancing handling equipment.

time study

time efficiency

urban freight transportation

medium-duty trucks


focus group


Ivan Sanchez-Diaz

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Service Management and Logistics

Laura Palacios-Arguello


Anders Levandi

Jimmy Mardberg

Rafael Basso

Volvo Group


20711050 (eISSN)

Vol. 12 1 425- 5554

Autonomous and Connected Trucks for Electric Distribution (ACTED)

Chalmers, 2018-01-01 -- 2019-12-31.

Gothenburg Urban Freight Platform

VREF, 2022-06-01 -- 2024-12-31.

VREF, 2014-02-01 -- 2019-12-31.

Areas of Advance


Subject Categories

Transport Systems and Logistics

Business Administration



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