Research Projects

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Research Projects

STATUS: Complete YEAR: 2014 TOPIC AREA: Integrating freight and passenger systems CENTER: MetroFreight

Congestion Caused by Urban Freight: Tensions Between the Demand of Freight Operations and the Supply of Infrastructure

Project Summary

The first objective of our research is to estimate the supply-demand balance of urban freight in the Paris Region, at a regional scale. For this, we will use the results of the Paris Urban Freight Survey developed by the Laboratory of Transport Economics (as detailed in Paris project 2.3). The Urban Freight Survey is a very interesting tool for this study because the main variable is the occupation of the road network by a vehicle, whether in motion or parked during a delivery. Using a classic, establishment-based generation model, we will be able to estimate the demand for freight operations in the region of Paris. Using data from the Paris Regional Household Mobility Survey (called EGT), our goal is to compare this demand for freight with the demand for passengers’ transportation. This will allow us to have an accurate picture of the demand of the road network, and the share of this demand that is freight transportation. Then, using data from the French National Geographic Institute (called IGN), we intend to build an index for the supply of road infrastructure in the Paris Region. Our aim is to compare the supply-demand balance, and be able to make a diagnostic for congestion caused by freight at the regional level.

Our main objective is to be able to quantify the social costs of congestion caused by urban freight. In order to do this, we also intend to do a field study in the street of Paris. This study will be done in collaboration with the Municipality of Paris. This field study includes selecting a representative sample of streets, and to collect data on these streets by simple road observation: the freight vehicle flows and the double parking for deliveries and removals of goods. Our aim is to do some work in traffic and congestion modeling (using sensors in the pavements of the street), and then to estimate a cost of the externalities generated by freight trips and parking on the street (delays, extra fuel consumption, additional pollution due to the congestion, and additional risk of traffic accidents for the delivery drivers as well as for the other users of the road network…). Then, from the sample, we will extrapolate these results to the other streets of Paris, using the size of the streets and the characteristics of the economic establishments.

The goal of this study is to estimate a social cost of the congestion, but it will also allow us to study policy implications. In particular, we should be able to do a cost-benefit analysis of planning additional parking spaces for delivery vehicles. We have shown in previous studies that parking for deliveries is a very problematic issue. In Paris, more than 60% of parking is done illegally and more than 50% while double-parking, despite the fact that setting aside space for delivery areas has been a priority for the municipality since the signing of the Paris Delivery Charter in 2010. Our research confirms that the supply of parking spaces for delivery vehicles is insufficient compared to the demand of freight vehicles. Given the spatial and temporal distribution of the demand for delivery vehicle parking, we can say that certain areas in Paris are even significantly under-equipped.

This study is on-going. It is financially supported by MetroFreight.

The computing of the supply of infrastructure is done: we created an "infrastructure index" taking into account length of roads, number of lanes and speed limits. We have also estimated the demand for passenger transportation (because we have to take it into account for a study on road congestion), using the regional Household Mobility Survey. The measure of the demand of freight operations heavily depends on the exploitation of the Urban Freight Survey (see project 2.3).


Adrien Beziat
3 Rue Maurice Audin
Vaulx-en-Velin, Lyon, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes 69120
[email protected]