Measuring the Cost Trade-Offs Between Electric-Assist Cargo Bikes and Delivery Trucks in Dense Urban Areas

Urban freight deliveries are increasingly challenged in dense urban areas, particularly where delivery trucks are required to meet delivery time windows. Depending on the route characteristics, Electric Assist (EA) cargo bikes may serve as an economic and environmentally sustainable alternative to delivery trucks. In this paper, the cost trade-offs between a box delivery truck and an EA cargo bikes are compared. The independent and constant variables and assumptions used for a cost function comparison model are gathered through data collection, a literature review, and interviews. An observed route completed by a well-known courier company was used as a control and the same route was modeled with an EA cargo bike. It was found that a delivery truck was a more cost efficient vehicle type given the route and delivery characteristics present. Four separate delivery scenarios were modeled to explore how the distance between distribution center (DC) and neighborhood, a number of stops, distance between each stop, and a number of parcels per stop would impact the optimum vehicle type. The results from the models indicate that the route and delivery characteristics significantly influence whether a delivery truck or EA cargo bike is the best option.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee AT025 Standing Committee on Urban Freight Transportation.
  • Authors:
    • Butrina, Polina
    • Sheth, Manali
    • Goodchild, Anne
    • McCormack, Edward
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2018


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: 5p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01661444
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 18-05401
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Feb 28 2018 9:22AM