Logistics sprawl in North America: methodological issues and a case study in Toronto

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The Freight Transport Research Institute has published on Logistics Sprawl at the 9th International Conference on City Logistics in Tenerife, Canary Islands.

Partnering with the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, and IFSTTAR in France, the Freight Transport Research Institute has produced this research on how Logistics businesses are sprawling across metropolitan areas.

LOGISTICS SPRAWL IN NORTH AMERICA: METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES AND A CASE STUDY IN TORONTO
Article Authors
Clarence Woudsma*, University of Waterloo, Canada
Paul Jakubicek, Freight Transport Research Institute, Czech Republic
Laetitia Dablanc, IFSTTAR, France

KEYWORDS: Logistics sprawl, NAICS and SIC, Warehousing, Locational patterns, Freight transportation

ABSTRACT

This paper focuses on the spatial patterns of freight and logistics activities in North America. The recent interest in logistics and warehousing and its impact on the urban environment has prompted research investigating the ‘sprawling’ nature of these firms. Logistics sprawl, i.e. the spatial deconcentration of logistics facilities and distribution centers in metropolitan areas has been examined for several metropolitan areas (Dablanc and Ross 2012; Dablanc 2014; Dablanc et al., 2014), yielding contrasting results: Atlanta and Los Angeles have experienced strong logistics sprawl between 1998 and 2008 while Seattle has not. The objective in this paper is two-fold. An additional case study (Toronto) is investigated to expand the current understanding of North American logistics sprawl and methodological issues, particularly related to facility identification and location data are discussed. An updated method for analyzing spatial patterns of logistics activity in North American cities is subsequently proposed. This updated method may then be used in the future to re-examine former case studies (Los Angeles, Atlanta, Seattle) as well as to investigate new ones.