Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review
Urban freight logistics involve the movement and operations generated by freight activity in urban areas. As such, freight logistics impact multiple stakeholders. However, these stakeholders are mostly not taken into consideration when planners and decision makers look into potential solutions to the issues generated by freight operations. In this paper, results are shown from a survey conducted and analyzed unveiling citizens’ perceptions with respect to the urban freight system in a mid-size urban area. Four hypotheses are proposed and tested using a Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) approach. Results show that, unlike what is generally believed, citizens are aware of the freight system and its impact on their daily activities. Moreover, citizens who perceive the infrastructure to be in poor condition also have a greater awareness of the negative externalities generated by freight operations. In addition, having a higher perception of freight’s negative externalities decreases citizens’ perception of the overall performance of freight logistics in the city. Furthermore, the results unveiled heterogeneity in citizens’ perceptions based on their socio-economic characteristics and based on their location. The results shed light on the perceptions citizens have towards urban freight logistics, and confirms the importance that decision makers should place on engaging the public early in the planning process. By raising awareness among planners in a proactive manner, these findings could be used to enhance the level of community engagement in freight planning, and by extension the level of citizen support for programs and initiatives aimed at addressing urban freight issues.