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Change trends in urban freight delivery: a qualitative inquiry

Journal Article

In this paper we present the findings of a qualitative investigation of change trends in urban freight deliveries. The empirical material was gathered with urban freight (courier) company managers and drivers in Aotearoa New Zealand. It presents personal accounts of the everyday lived experiences of those intimately involved in the delivery of goods within the urban environment. Twenty-five interviews were conducted across four urban centres between June and September 2015. We use the four elements of the Energy Cultures Framework to explore what urban freight managers and drivers ‘have’, ‘do’ and ‘think’, and the pressures of an external context. Four interrelated themes are presented. 1. Online shopping and home deliveries, 2. Tracking and transparency, 3. New technologies, and 4. Meeting (changing) expectations, with evidence provided by way of verbatim quotations. The ‘mobility cultures’ concept is used to explore the relationships between the four themes, and to identify the key change trends that may affect the ability of the freight industry to contribute to a low-carbon transport transition. We conclude by signalling some policy implications and future research directions.

Read more about our project on ‘The energy implications of automated and smart freight mobility‘.