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The Impact of E-Commerce-Related Last-Mile Logistics on Cities: A Systematic Literature Review

Marta Viu-Roig () and Eduard J. Alvarez-Palau ()
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Marta Viu-Roig: Faculty of Economics and Business, Open University of Catalonia, 08035 Barcelona, Spain
Eduard J. Alvarez-Palau: Faculty of Economics and Business, Open University of Catalonia, 08035 Barcelona, Spain

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 16, 1-19

Abstract: E-commerce-related last-mile logistics have a great impact on cities. Recent years have seen sustained growth in e-commerce in most developed countries, a trend that has only been reinforced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The perceived impact of this phenomenon varies depending upon the perspective of the players involved: individual members of the public, companies, or the public administrations. Tackling the issue from these perspectives, the goal of this article is to explore the kinds of impact this phenomenon has and will have. We use as the basis for their classification the so-called triple bottom line (TBL) of sustainability, encompassing people, planet, and profit; we complement this with the impact classification used by the European Science Foundation’s impact assessment working group. After performing a systematic review of the literature following PRISMA guidelines, our results show that, albeit to different degrees, the four impact dimensions analyzed (economic, social, environmental, and technological) have only received incipient coverage in the existing literature. Given its ever-growing importance, we believe that greater attention needs to be paid to this phenomenon, especially with regard to those aspects having the greatest impact upon urban systems and the different stakeholders involved. Only in this way can the public policies needed to mitigate these externalities be properly implemented.

Keywords: last mile; urban logistics; e-commerce; impact assessment; systematic review (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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