Published In

Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board

Document Type


Publication Date



Transportation planning, Logistics -- Effects of technological change on, Urban freight transportation -- Mathematical models


Several noteworthy developments in logistics practice have taken place without an equivalent and comprehensive development in urban freight transportation modeling. Part of the problem is the lack of deep understanding of the workings of distribution processes in relation to the generation of truck traffic. This study emphasizes the role and importance that distribution network size and information and communications technology have on the truck traffic flows that materialize as the supply chain flows over the public infrastructure. A concept is developed of commercial activity routing types that characterize the interplay between transportation demand requests and routing characteristics. This research contributes to the field by proposing a novel and detailed characterization of truck flows in a supply chain context. With well-known, yet simple, models and formulas from vehicle routing, operations research, and management science literature, behavioral insights are derived about distributors' and carriers' routing and order-sizing decisions, since routing constraints and second-order effects are important drivers of truck flows. The main contribution is to bring a new commercial activity-routing perspective and a deeper level of operational decision-making analysis to cope with the intricacies of freight transportation modeling.


WORKING PAPER ITLS-WP-06-08 - Open access

Persistent Identifier