Using Big Data to Reduce Air Pollution in Last- and First-Mile Transport

Project Title
Using Big Data to Reduce Air Pollution in Last- and First-Mile Transport
Priority 4 Promoting green transport and mobility
Lead Beneficiary
University of Groningen
Contact Person First Name
Contact Person Last Name
Nettelbosje 2
P.O. Box
Postal Code
9747 AE
+31 50 363 3777
Central Aim

The central aim of this project is to provide green transport solutions and reduce CO2 emissions in the last and first mile. To reach this aim, a platform will be developed on which consumers can select options for delivery or pickup and on which (small scale) logistic providers become platform partners to transport the products in the most sustainable and efficient way. The best solution is found through the smart use of big data of consumers, logistic providers, and road information.

Project Description

This project proposes numerous ways to reduce CO2 emissions related to the transport of goods in the North Sea urban areas. It adopts an inclusive approach and makes use of big data analytics and digital technologies (ICT, drones, GPS tracking). The proposed solutions include:

  • Facilitating inter-firm cooperation (sharing of mobility resources) and knowledge exchange between e-commerce firms, logistic service providers, municipalities and consumers with the aim to aggregate and coordinate pickup and delivery;
  • Promoting intra-firm collaboration via increased linking and sharing of knowledge between marketing, supply chain management and innovation departments within e-commerce firms;
  • Providing a mixture of solutions using big data (social neighborhood information to combine package deliveries to facilitate multiple purchases in neighborhoods, using social media to predict and anticipate consumer behavior; and using traffic and GPS data to select the most efficient transport routes to avoid empty transport vehicles);
  • Encouraging the use of electric, hybrid and zero-emissions transport vehicles, as well as public transport in general, instead of fossil-fueled vehicles;
  • Highlighting how local governments can supplement policy making by using big data to provide aggregate transport solutions that reduce vehicle emissions;

  • Analyzing how municipalities may work together with e-commerce firms to better design traffic systems and reduce congestions.

The novelty of this project lies at the development of an interactive, online public-private platform that allows consumers to decide on several aspects, such as time and speed of delivery, greenness of mode of transport and social responsibility causes (unemployed or handicapped delivery personnel). Additionally, the pickup of returned products can be integrated and arranged by cooperation in the value system, in a similar way. To ensure cost-efficiency, the platform makes use of advanced data analytics and big data that are shared among the partners. The approach is also novel given the multidisciplinary nature by integrating insights from the fields of marketing, supply chain management and innovation strategy.

Envisaged Output

The output generated by this project is geared to help reduce emissions caused by e-commerce firms via stimulating cooperation, knowledge and data sharing between partners in the value system. This study uses insights from marketing, supply chain management, and innovation strategy to create a solution that satisfies the needs of e-commerce firms, consumers, and society at large. 

This leads to efficient planning and execution of product deliveries, thus reducing freight kilometers. Big (customer) data is utilized to predict and steer customers’ purchasing behaviors and delivery preferences. Furthermore, accurate predictions on purchasing behaviors can help to plan and design the logistic streams to:

  • Optimize routings (bundling deliveries and coordinating deliveries and pickups);
  • Optimize customer’s active participation in last mile deliveries and first mile pickup;
  • Maximize coverage
What is the need for this project?

The EU has imposed stricter regulations on the emission of greenhouse gases and fine particles. Several urban areas in the North Sea Region struggle with how to manage growth while meeting the stricter environmental regulations (e.g. CO2 neutral transport) in the near future. A particular challenge for cities in the North Sea Region is a rise in CO2 emissions and fine particulates related to Last-Mile (delivery) and First-Mile (pickup of returned products) Transport as a consequence of increased online purchases, as compared to traditional means of buying goods. Furthermore, as consumers in major metropolitan areas demand faster delivery and for more perishable goods, extra demands are placed on the delivery systems. Consequently, e-commerce firms need agile and responsive delivery systems to be able to deliver packages on time (for the consumers), and with a low carbon footprint (for cities/environment).

Thematic Keywords
Emissions reduction
Freight transport
Last mile
Other Keywords
Big data, green transport, First mile
Partners Found Already

Potential partners:

  • Municipality of Hamburg
  • Municipality of Groningen
Partners Searched

Municipalities - for pilots

(SME) e-commerce firms

(SME) logistic service providers

(SME) IT & big data companies

(SME) Sustainable transport vehicles & technology providers

Estimated Budget

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