We see more and more trucks riding through our streets delivering individual items. This hardly looks sustainable.
I wonder how the transport footprint compares with the 'old' delivery model of goods being shipped to stores and bought by customers going there.
Please ignore stuff like packaging (the question is already complicated enough).
Assume the following (current) situation:
- We start at vendor warehouses across the country. Goods arrive there from the manufacturers. This first part does not show large differences. We ignore direct manufacturer to customer delivery, this happens much less frequently.
- From the warehouses goods go either to stores (store scenario) or are delivered to individual households (doorstep scenario). Pick up locations are still uncommon.
- Vendors use multiple delivery services; these do not combine their streams
- Transport is done by (delivery) truck
- Culture is European/American. Societies are wealthy enough that most people have a car and there are good transport systems.
In the store scenario we (can) go to the stores using different modes of transport. We often combine several shops in one trip. This is a major difference with the doorstep scenario in cities/towns - where most people live nowadays.
Note that US cities are much more car oriented than Europe, so the answers may be limited to one of the two.
Many factors are involved of course: population density and city design translate to distances. This will determine what transport people use.
I'm not so much interested in opinions as I am in data: have studies been done on this? What are the results?
- If I have forgotten major assumptions or factors please comment and I will edit them into the question
- There is the very much related question How do I calculate if it is more sustainable to have my groceries delivered? but that also includes packaging and assumes individual car transport only. The current two answers there address only the bags and refute the car assumption.