Bhavesh Dhonde, Chetan R. Patel


Introduction: In the 21st century, cities in developing countries have witnessed faster growth as compared with cities in developed countries. Countries like India, China and Brazil have one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The transport infrastructure in these cities struggles to deal with the increasing population and geographic sprawl. Though some efforts are made to improve the transportation systems in these cities, urban freight transport is largely overlooked as the focus remains on passenger transport. Methods: This study aims to assess the impacts of the city’s geographic sprawl on urban freight transport using the example of the textile industry in Surat, India. The sprawl of the city and its textile industry is measured based on historical maps, Google imagery, and establishment surveys. Changes in urban freight trip lengths are determined using the data of a commercial vehicle drivers’ survey. Results: In the last two decades, the city expanded geographically by almost three times. The relocation of textile manufacturing units led to a 40% increase in trip lengths and additional 56 tons of carbon dioxide generation per year. Due to the city sprawl, the overall efficiency of the urban freight transport system reduced. There is a need for a holistic planning approach towards urban freight movement and related urban infrastructure for sustainable freight flows. This can serve as a policy framework to decide on the location of a logistics hub or as guidelines to allocate manufacturing enterprises in the proximity of the urban area, thus enabling sustainable development of the city.


Urban, freight, logistics, city sprawl, cities, developing countries.

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