Getting the Goods Delivered in Dense Urban AreasA Snapshot of the Last Link of the Supply Chain

Anne G. Morris, City University of New York
Alain L. Kornhauser, Princeton University
Mark Kay, Montclair State University


Data were analyzed from 74 "Freight Mobility Interviews" - surveys conducted with key transportation executives whose products and services are shipped into New York City's central business district (CBD). Quantitative data collected included company profiles, defined by product category; kind of transportation service; type of distribution channel; characteristics of dispatched truck trip; and time and cost for last leg of trip. Major barriers to freight mobility identified by logistics/distribution/ transportation managers were widespread congestion, theft/vandalism, inadequate docking space, and insufficient curbside parking for commercial vehicles. Recommendations to increase productivity in the CBD included off-peak and extended delivery hours, additional truck parking zones, and incentives to upgrade docking areas. Barriers to freight mobility were consistent across industry sectors. Initiatives that have the potential to increase the efficiency of urban goods movement include improved law enforcement to deter theft/vandalism, information-based improvements such as accurate signage, the use of ITS technology and management systems to actively manage curbside commercial parking zones, and improved road maintenance. The nontraditional methodology developed for collecting urban freight mobility data provides process-oriented data that reflect changing supply chain strategies of private-sector shippers and carriers.