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Does Online Shopping Create Urban Congestion?

On April 18, 2018, at 10am PST, Meeting of the Minds will host a live webinar featuring Alison Conway from the University Transportation Research Center and Michael Browne from the University of Gothenberg, Sweden.

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The retail consumer pattern shift toward online shopping is impacting how, where, and when goods are moved in and around cities. Instead of regular bulk shipments from warehouses to retail outlets, individual purchases are bypassing the physical shops and being delivered directly to consumers, often to residential locations that were not designed to receive frequent deliveries.

What are the impacts on energy, materials, waste, and other supply chain aspects of this shift toward smaller but more frequent goods deliveries? Is the increased use of postal, courier, and other small delivery services (including food shopping and meal deliveries) contributing to road congestion? How are retailers adapting their supply chains to meet consumer demand and are new actors emerging? How are city agencies responding to these changing retail, land use and transport patterns? How are residential buildings coping with increased freight trips, and what are the implications for freight and passenger transport interaction in cities?

Two researchers from the Volvo Research and Education Foundations (VREF) global network – Alison Conway, expert on transportation logistics challenges, e-commerce, and urban streetspace at the City College in New York; and Michael Browne, expert on e-commerce, home delivery, and supply chains and how to engage with urban freight stakeholders – will discuss the challenges and responses to online shopping’s impact on how freight is moved in cities.


Dr. Alison Conway

Associate Professor of Civil Engineering 
City College of New York

Associate Director for Education
University Transportation Research Center (UTRC)

Dr. Alison Conway is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the City College of New York and the Associate Director for Education at the Region 2 University Transportation Research Center (UTRC). She is also a member of the research team for METROFreight, a Volvo Research and Education Foundations Center of Excellence in Urban Freight. Her recent research focus has been in the areas of sustainable urban logistics and interactions between freight, passenger and non-motorized modes in livable communities. Dr. Conway holds Ph.D. and Master’s degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor’s of Civil Engineering from the University of Delaware. She currently chairs the ASCE Transportation and Development Institute’s Freight and Logistics Committee and is the incoming chair of the Transportation Research Board’s Freight Data Committee.

Michael Browne

Professor, Logistics and Urban Freight Transport, School of Economics, Business and Law
University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Michael Browne was appointed professor at the University of Gothenburg in 2015. His main research focus is on urban goods transport and he provides academic leadership in the Urban Freight Platform a University of Gothenburg and Chalmers initiative supported by the Volvo Research and Education Foundations(VREF). He is also a member of the VREF Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Urban Freight `Systems (CoE-SUFS) led by Rensselaer
Polytechnic Institute. He is committed to engaging practitioners and policy-makers with the research community on all aspects of logistics impacting on future urban goods transport. Before his appointment in Gothenburg he was at the University of Westminster in London for 25 years and he continues to chair the Central London Freight Quality Partnership. He is a visiting professor at the University Paris II (Panthéon-Assas) and the University of Southampton.


April 18, 2018
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Event Category:




Meeting of the Minds
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