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21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Primer for Improved Urban Freight Mobility and Delivery
Operations, Logistics, and Technology Strategies


The economic prosperity and competitiveness of America's cities depends on the reliable and efficient movement of freight through our multimodal freight system. In recent decades, population growth and economic growth in the United States has been concentrated in urban areas, where, according to the U.S. Census, approximately four of five Americans live. This growth, combined with increasing deliveries resulting from the steady rise in e-commerce, is driving increased demand for freight movement in urban areas.

Rising demand for urban freight movement requires innovative, collaborative approaches to accommodate growth while addressing the increased congestion, pollution, and wear and tear on infrastructure that can be caused by increased freight traffic. Cities must also find ways to manage competition for limited curb space and improve the safety of vulnerable road users who share the roads with larger delivery vehicles.

This primer is intended to stimulate collaboration and innovation while serving as a practical resource for both public- and private-sector freight stakeholders seeking to improve freight mobility in urban areas. It identifies 17 noteworthy practices representing operations, logistics, and technology (OLT) strategies and describes how they were successfully implemented. Each noteworthy practice briefly outlines the resources used to implement the practice, the stakeholders involved, and the results. Contact information is provided for readers interested in learning more.

Freight practitioners in public agencies may wish to use this primer to identify and plan for freight projects and strategies that would be eligible for the National Highway Freight Program (NHFP) or other Federal funding for freight projects. The final section describes opportunities for integrating freight mobility strategies into the transportation planning process and lists some Federal programs through which freight projects and strategies may be funded.

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