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Using public transport to deliver packages to consumers is more eco-friendly, more economical, and provides a win for all parties involved, suggests new research in Transportation Research Part B: Methodological.

Professors Ivana Ljubic, Claudia Archetti, Laurent Alfandari and Diego Delle Donne from ESSEC Business School collaborated on this project in order to gain an insight into how feasible it is to deliver packages this way. They identified three types of decisions to consider in order to streamline the process: strategic, operational and tactical decisions.

In their research, the researchers explored strategic decisions involved in using freight-on-transit for last-mile deliveries, specifically looking at the choice of transport lines and stations to use for delivery purposes.

In their model, packages are first transported from the distribution center to public transport stations, and then loaded onto the public transport vehicles. Next, they are transported to “drop-out” stations and picked up by freighters (porters, drones etc.) who will cover the last part of the trip.

This sort of system requires the work of both public and private authorities, and as such, decisions and agreements need to be made by both stakeholders. In their model, the researchers conducted a case study using the city of Orléans in France as an example. They used mathematical modeling to assess the available budget and the bus system’s capacity to answer strategic questions, such as which bus lines should be involved, where the drop-in and drop-off stops should be located, and the potential costs.

The advantages of using public transport in this way include a win for all major stakeholders. Public authorities can reduce the environmental impact of deliveries and create a more sustainable city, and logistics companies can reduce their costs. It could also be a way to to protect our environment and reduce the number of vehicles in residential areas.

Dr. Delle Donne says, “We hope that our research on sustainable city logistics can help stakeholders explore alternative options for package delivery in their urban area. Optimizing city logistics could improve the city’s livability and sustainability.”

For more research from ESSEC Business School, check out the ESSEC Knowledge Review.

If you would like to speak with one of the researchers, or read the full paper, please contact Georgina at

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