Online shopping in the United States may not lead to a reduction in vehicle miles travelled, according to a multi-year study in the International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology.
The Center’s simulation study “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,” said co-author Mingxin Li.
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“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,” said study lead Prof. Arde Faghri, director of the Delaware Center for Transportation.
While online stores require less space and use less energy, “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,” the University of Delaware reports. “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.” (h/t to Environmental News Bits for pointing us to this story)
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