Modeling the Sustainability of Commercial Vehicle Technologies

The integration of more sustainable vehicles in goods distribution and service delivery depends on a number of factors related to vehicle costs, technology, infrastructure, energy sources, and financial incentives (Feng and Figliozzi, 2012). Energy cost fluctuations and the rapid evolution of vehicle types and engine technologies creates a highly uncertain environment. Problems and issues faced by policymakers, transportation planners, and private companies are rapidly evolving over time. In addition, new vehicle technologies such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones have the potential to disrupt last mile deliveries and supply chains. The comparison of conventional diesel vehicles and cleaner vehicles is not straightforward because there are substantial trade-offs regarding vehicles costs, payload, range, and supporting infrastructure. The comparison is even more complex regarding UAVs since this is a new vehicle type and technology. There is scant or no research that addresses the fundamental environmental, logistics and cost trade-offs associated with the widespread adoption of UAVs for last mile deliveries. The main goal of this project is to develop robust tools and models to analyze UAVs environmental, logistical, and cost tradeoffs. More specifically, the research project will: (1) review and analyze key UAV characteristics, limitations, and capabilities, (2) model and compare UAV and conventional ground vehicle lifecycle emissions and sustainability aspects, (3) model and compare UAV operational and long-term costs, and (4) analyze the potential impacts of widespread UAV adoption on freight planning models and tools.


    • English


    • Status: Completed
    • Funding: $130000
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      United States Department of Transportation - FHWA - LTAP

      1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
      Washington, DC    20590

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Managing Organizations:

      Freight Mobility Research Institute

      Florida Atlantic University
      Boca Raton, FL  United States  33431
    • Project Managers:

      Stearns, Amy

    • Performing Organizations:

      Portland State University

      Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
      Engineering Bldg, 301D, 1930 SW 4th Ave.
      Portland, OR  United States  97201
    • Principal Investigators:

      Figliozzi, Miguel

    • Start Date: 20161130
    • Expected Completion Date: 20181129
    • Actual Completion Date: 0
    • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01677590
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Freight Mobility Research Institute
    • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747120
    • Files: UTC, RIP
    • Created Date: Aug 10 2018 8:33AM