Dr. Vivek Sakhrani, Global Director for Infrastructure Analytics, will lead a special interest session on urban freight and logistics entitled “Sensing, Visualizing and Enhancing the Last Mile of Urban Freight”. The public sector has historically focused on long-hauls for freight planning, investments, and operations. The ‘last mile’ of freight—the first and last leg between freight origin or destination and the mainline transport corridor—is a blind spot. As a transportation industry, we do not fully understand what types of vehicles utilize these routes, what they are carrying, why these carriers make the route and schedule choices they do, or how loading and parking behavior contributes to congestion. Without a detailed understanding of last mile behavior, it is hard to propose operational changes, prescribe policy improvements, or inform new investments. New and emerging ITS technologies have created the opportunity to mitigate the last mile blind spot. Computer vision, cloud storage, deep learning, and augmented reality technologies are converging in a number of applications that can help improve freight observability–vehicle type, purpose, and behavior—in the last mile.
This session will cover specific challenges—loading, parking, congestion, safety, parcel deliveries, and land use—and showcase the state of the technological art in addressing these challenges. Findings will be presented from a number of research projects including a two-year research project for the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board and a number of local and regional initiatives in North America. Technology experts, academics, and public-sector representatives will debate state of the art technologies and point the way forward.