Urban Distribution Centers: Means to Reducing Freight Vehicle Miles Traveled

Panero, Marta, Hyeon-Shic Shin and Daniel Polo Lopez
Perpared for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the New York State Department of Transportation by the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management, NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, March 2011

The present study examines the model of freight consolidation platforms, and urban distribution centers (UDCs) in particular, as a means to solve the last mile problem of urban freight while reducing vehicle miles traveled and associated environmental impacts. This paper attempts to identify the key characteristics that make UDCs successful and discuss under what contextual settings (e.g., institutional, policy) they work best. After an extensive review of UDC cases already implemented in other countries, the study examined three UDCs cases with potential applicability to the New York metropolitan region, discussing models and relevant features and elements that may be transferred to the New York context.