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Exploring Last Mile Synergies in Passenger and Freight Transport

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'The last mile' is a phrase commonly used in a logistics and freight transport context to highlight the special characteristics and challenges in moving goods within urban areas in what is usually the last leg of a long freight transport chain. The last mile challenge often also involves changing mode of transport for that leg, categorizing the transport chain as intermodal. Although similar issues arise for passenger transport, integrated transport is more commonly used to highlight the need to change modes of transport for the last, or first, section of a long-distance public transport journey. Although passenger and goods transport share the same infrastructure, predominantly in urban areas, they are largely seen as different systems and remain separated. Thus wasting scarce resources and contributing to congestion and the 'last mile' problem. In this context, the aim of this paper is to synthesize the main issues related to the first and last mile in freight and passenger transport and, based on that, to explore synergies between them in order to share the use of resources – based on time, space and vehicle. To this end, various examples of sharing resources for transport of passengers and freight are provided. The paper concludes that integrating passenger and freight transport in urban areas is a promising approach to easing the last mile problem. However, to advance operational integration of passenger and freight transport services, integration at the institutional and business levels of freight and passenger transport provision is required.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2016-12-01

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  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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