Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Online shopping might not be as green as we thought

08.02.2016

Study provides insight into impacts of home shopping on vehicle operations and greenhouse gas emissions

Logic suggests that online shopping is "greener" than traditional shopping. After all, when people shop from home, they are not jumping into their cars, one by one, to travel to the mall or the big box store.


A study by researchers in the Delaware Center for Transportation provides insight into the impacts of home shopping on vehicle operations and greenhouse gas emissions.

Image by Jeffrey C. Chase/ University of Delaware

But a multi-year regional study at the University of Delaware suggests that home shopping has a greater impact on the transportation sector than the public might suspect. The results of the research are documented in a paper, "Impacts of Home Shopping on Vehicle Operations and Greenhouse Gas Emissions," in the International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology.

The study, which focused on the city of Newark, Delaware, was led by Arde Faghri, professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and director of the Delaware Center for Transportation (DCT).

The project included data collection through a survey to identify shopping behavior and summary of the survey results by product category, followed by simulation and analysis.

"Our simulation results showed that home shopping puts an additional burden on the local transportation network, as identified through four measures of effectiveness -- travel time, delay, average speed, and greenhouse gas emissions," says co-author Mingxin Li, a researcher at DCT.

While it's true that e-stores require less space and use less energy, Faghri points out that online shopping puts more delivery trucks on the roads, which translates into more wear-and-tear on pavements and increased environmental pollution through the emission of fine particulate matter from diesel engines.

An additional problem is that residential and downtown streets were not designed to accommodate frequent truck stops, parking, loading and unloading, so trucks can interfere with through traffic, causing delays and compromising safety.

But what may be the most surprising finding of the study has nothing to do with increased truck traffic.

"We found that the total number of vehicles miles traveled hasn't decreased at all with the growth of online shopping," Faghri says. "This suggests that people are using the time they save by shopping on the internet to do other things like eating out at restaurants, going to the movies, or visiting friends."

Faghri cautions that his study looked only at residential commerce, not purchases made by commercial and industrial businesses, and that the data his team collected was limited to a very small geographic area.

However, he emphasizes that local, state, regional, and national planners need to keep a close eye on the impacts of the home shopping trend when planning and budgeting for infrastructure needs.

"The increase in online shopping also affects land use patterns such as the number and size of stores in large shopping malls with vast parking spaces, as well as changes in labor markets, with, for example, less demand for sales personnel and more for truck drivers," he says.

Media Contact

Peter Bothum
pbothum@udel.edu
302-831-1418

 @UDResearch

http://www.udel.edu 

Peter Bothum | EurekAlert!

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists reach back in time to discover some of the most power-packed galaxies

28.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nano 'sandwich' offers unique properties

28.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Light beam replaces blood test during heart surgery

28.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>