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Understanding the transport and CO2 impacts of on-demand meal deliveries: a London case study

Understanding the transport and CO2 impacts of on-demand meal deliveries: a London case study
Understanding the transport and CO2 impacts of on-demand meal deliveries: a London case study
The rise of the on-demand economy has led to a rapid increase in the delivery of meals from restaurants and fast food outlets by delivery drivers (DDs) using bicycles, mopeds and cars, with newly-established platform providers handling order and payment processing and, in many cases, the co-ordination of these deliveries. Little is currently understood about the collective transport impacts of such activity in urban centres and to what extent this poses challenges for transport policymakers.

The paper provides an international review of market growth in this sector together with insight into key topics associated with its freight delivery operations in urban areas. Using a substantial database of meal deliveries made in London by a major platform provider, this paper quantifies the operational performance of these deliveries and their transport and environmental impacts. On average, 9.6 deliveries were undertaken by a DD daily, with each taking 25 minutes from pickup to delivery with an average trip length, from restaurant to customer of 2.2km (1.4 miles) a DD travelling 41.3km (25.7 miles) in total per day, The analysis of the case study indicates the relative transport inefficiency of these on-demand meal deliveries compared to other forms of urban road freight (with a meal delivered by car being responsible for approximately 1300 times the distance travelled by an articulated HGV operation per tonne delivered). It also highlights the far greater GHG emissions and transport intensity associated with meals deliveries by cars and petrol mopeds compared to bicycles (emitting 5 and 11 times more GHGs per meal delivered than bicycles, respectively).
The transport and GHG emissions intensity of these meal deliveries raises important policy issues, especially given the rapid growth in the provision of, and demand for, these services internationally, Based on the review and analysis, the paper provides a discussion of the key issues that urban policymakers around the world need to take account of in relation to this fast-growing sector including vehicle fuel sources, road safety, trip generation rates and their impacts on local residents, together with recommended actions.
Delivery, Meals, On-demand, Platform providers, Ready-to-eat, Urban
0264-2751
Allen, Julian
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Piecyk, Maja
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Cherrett, Thomas
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Juhari, Muhammad Nabil
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Mcleod, Fraser
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Piotrowska, Marzena
a8d8c328-1096-463c-ad98-f3262d5e5db9
Bates, Oliver
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Bektas, Tolga
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Cheliotis, Kostas
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Friday, Adrian
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Wise, Sarah
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Allen, Julian
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Piecyk, Maja
51273248-be60-42e5-ada6-093cfa9aa234
Cherrett, Thomas
e5929951-e97c-4720-96a8-3e586f2d5f95
Juhari, Muhammad Nabil
fce28f37-c3ad-43f2-b39e-82276ef8b679
Mcleod, Fraser
93da13ec-7f81-470f-8a01-9339e80abe98
Piotrowska, Marzena
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Bates, Oliver
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Bektas, Tolga
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Cheliotis, Kostas
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Friday, Adrian
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Wise, Sarah
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Allen, Julian, Piecyk, Maja, Cherrett, Thomas, Juhari, Muhammad Nabil, Mcleod, Fraser, Piotrowska, Marzena, Bates, Oliver, Bektas, Tolga, Cheliotis, Kostas, Friday, Adrian and Wise, Sarah (2021) Understanding the transport and CO2 impacts of on-demand meal deliveries: a London case study. Cities, 108, [102973]. (doi:10.1016/j.cities.2020.102973).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The rise of the on-demand economy has led to a rapid increase in the delivery of meals from restaurants and fast food outlets by delivery drivers (DDs) using bicycles, mopeds and cars, with newly-established platform providers handling order and payment processing and, in many cases, the co-ordination of these deliveries. Little is currently understood about the collective transport impacts of such activity in urban centres and to what extent this poses challenges for transport policymakers.

The paper provides an international review of market growth in this sector together with insight into key topics associated with its freight delivery operations in urban areas. Using a substantial database of meal deliveries made in London by a major platform provider, this paper quantifies the operational performance of these deliveries and their transport and environmental impacts. On average, 9.6 deliveries were undertaken by a DD daily, with each taking 25 minutes from pickup to delivery with an average trip length, from restaurant to customer of 2.2km (1.4 miles) a DD travelling 41.3km (25.7 miles) in total per day, The analysis of the case study indicates the relative transport inefficiency of these on-demand meal deliveries compared to other forms of urban road freight (with a meal delivered by car being responsible for approximately 1300 times the distance travelled by an articulated HGV operation per tonne delivered). It also highlights the far greater GHG emissions and transport intensity associated with meals deliveries by cars and petrol mopeds compared to bicycles (emitting 5 and 11 times more GHGs per meal delivered than bicycles, respectively).
The transport and GHG emissions intensity of these meal deliveries raises important policy issues, especially given the rapid growth in the provision of, and demand for, these services internationally, Based on the review and analysis, the paper provides a discussion of the key issues that urban policymakers around the world need to take account of in relation to this fast-growing sector including vehicle fuel sources, road safety, trip generation rates and their impacts on local residents, together with recommended actions.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 24 September 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 27 October 2020
Published date: January 2021
Keywords: Delivery, Meals, On-demand, Platform providers, Ready-to-eat, Urban

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 444739
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/444739
ISSN: 0264-2751
PURE UUID: 0f9fc979-61ec-4791-aa80-ff69ff3bd5e0
ORCID for Fraser Mcleod: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5784-9342
ORCID for Tolga Bektas: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0634-144X

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 03 Nov 2020 17:30
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 02:32

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Contributors

Author: Julian Allen
Author: Maja Piecyk
Author: Thomas Cherrett
Author: Muhammad Nabil Juhari
Author: Fraser Mcleod ORCID iD
Author: Marzena Piotrowska
Author: Oliver Bates
Author: Tolga Bektas ORCID iD
Author: Kostas Cheliotis
Author: Adrian Friday
Author: Sarah Wise

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