An ex ante evaluation of mobile depots in cities: A sustainability perspective
Journal article, 2017

Today, a large share of cost, congestion, and emission in cities is attributed to light goods vehicles like carrier vans distributing to the last mile. The aim of many policy agendas is to reach cleaner cities with less disturbance from the distribution vehicles. Several suggestions have been put forward and tested in research and practice, such as access restrictions, multimodal transport, and use of cleaner vehicles. In this paper, we develop a case for a more sustainable freight distribution within cities using an ex ante case study. The idea of the mobile depot is built on the iteration between historical transitions within cities and contemporary developments in urban freight distribution, and then analyzed ex ante both quantitatively in calculations and qualitatively in two stakeholder workshops. The idea is integrated and multimodal, based on a mobile depot (e.g., a bus, truck, barge, or tram) that circles the city and connects to low emission last mile delivery options such as LEVs (Light Electrical Vehicles) or cargo bikes. We found that such a system can be environmentally and socially better for the city context, while maintaining economic viability above a certain utilization rate of the mobile depot for the transport operators.



City logistics

urban freight distribution

mobile depot


Ala Pazirandeh

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Supply and Operations Management

Niklas Arvidsson

University of Gothenburg

International Journal of Sustainable Transportation

1556-8318 (ISSN) 1556-8334 (eISSN)

Vol. 11 8 623-632

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance


Subject Categories

Business Administration

Human Geography

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