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From the Last Mile to the Last 800 Feet: Key Factors in Urban Pick-up and Delivery of Goods

Date of Publication: 2017

Authored by: Polina Butrina, Gabriela Giron, Jose Machado, Anne Goodchild, Pramod C. Ayyalasomayajula

Publication: Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board

Volume: 2609 (1)

Pages: 85-92

Recommended Citation:

Butrina, Polina, et al. “From the Last Mile to the Last 800 Ft.” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, vol. 2609, no. 1, 2017, pp. 85–92., doi:10.3141/2609-10.


Pick-up and delivery operations are an essential part of urban goods movements. However, rapid urban growth, increasing demand, and higher customer expectations have amplified the challenges of urban freight movement. In recent years, the industry has emphasized improving “last-mile” operations with the intent of focusing on what has been described as the last leg of the supply chain. In this paper, the authors suggest that to solve urban freight challenges, an even more granular scale is necessary than the last mile, that is, the last 800 feet. The necessary operations in the last 800 feet require integration of diverse stakeholders, public and private infrastructure, and a diverse set of infrastructure users with multiple, varied objectives, and that complexity has led to a gap between the needs of delivery operations and the characteristics of receiving facilities (i.e., unloading and loading facilities and pick-up/drop-off locations). This work focuses on accessibility for pick-up and drop-off operations, taking a closer look at urban goods movement in the last 800 feet from the final customer. This paper presents and analyzes previously documented approaches and measures used to study the challenges at the proposed scale. Finally, it proposes a more holistic approach to address accessibility for urban pick- up/delivery operations at the microscale to help develop more comprehensive urban freight transportation planning.

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