Impacts of E-Commerce on Travel and Land Use Patterns

E-commerce (electronic commerce) generally refers to the buying and selling of goods and services over an electronic network, primarily the Internet. These transactions occur either as business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), consumer-to-consumer, or consumer-to-business. Although e-commerce has long been a part of the commercial and freight distribution landscapes, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted considerable growth in e-commerce, affecting the business models of numerous commercial establishments as well as delivery and other service industries. Advanced communications and delivery technologies improved the convenience of e-commerce to shoppers, attracting new customers and developing strong consumer bases. Even as the pandemic has run its course, e-commerce remains a principal means of distributing goods to markets and consumers. The growth of e-commerce has transformed land use and transportation in settings ranging from small communities and rural areas to suburban areas and cities. Research is needed to fully comprehend the qualitative and quantitative effects of e-commerce to effectively integrate e-commerce into transportation and land use policy and investment decision-making. The research will be useful to transportation and land use planners and practitioners, but also will provide useful information for executive leadership, elected officials, and the general public. The objective of this research is to develop a guide on the effects of e-commerce on transportation and land use, including the impacts on transportation systems and freight delivery as well as on the communities and land uses that support them. The guide shall provide practical strategies, methods, and techniques on how to measure and project the effects of e-commerce on transportation and land use, and how to incorporate e-commerce into transportation analysis and decision-making processes and functions. The guide shall address three major categories of inquiry: (1) What is the definition of e-commerce? Define e-commerce from transportation, freight planning and operations, urban planning, and land use perspectives. (2) What are the impacts of e-commerce on transportation and land use? Identify the direct and indirect effects of e-commerce on transportation and land use policy, processes, and investments in the public and private sectors to support and optimize e-commerce activity. (3) What are the policies, data, practices, and applications in use today to accommodate and support e-commerce into transportation systems and land use? Document policies, programs, and practices in which e-commerce and direct-to-consumer activities have been incorporated into analyses, models, and land use planning. Include all modes (maritime, air cargo, rail, and trucking) in e-commerce activity, along with different varieties of land uses. The final deliverables will include the final guide and (1) a Conduct of Research report that summarizes the research approach; (2) an Implementation Plan that sets forth a specific strategy for generating applications of the research in practice; and (3) any additional products identified in the approved Phase II work plan.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $400000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 08-173

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Weeks, Jennifer

  • Performing Organizations:


    One Penn Plaza
    250 W 34th Street
    New York, New York  United States  10119
  • Principal Investigators:

    Guerrero, Sebastian

  • Start Date: 20240411
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01846750
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 08-173
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: May 24 2022 11:02AM