Environmentally Sustainable Transport Planning in the First and Last Mile Section of the Supply Chain
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Background: The article provides a discussion on freight transport planning. The existing solutions applied in this sphere have been compared with the environment-related needs. The concept which has been proposed involves a dedicated travel planner that takes some additional non-standard criteria into consideration. At the same time, the authors have highlighted the necessity to expand the algorithms being applied, and to address the comprehensive nature of the problem. However, it is the first and last mile section of supply chains on which the article focuses. The planner described in the paper is being developed as a part of an integrated platform implemented under the international S-mile project. Research methodology: The solutions proposed for transport planning purposes include application of ICT. A review of the available solutions has made it possible to indicate one of the planners currently in use as the foundation upon which a more advanced freight transport planning tool dedicated to the first/last mile section can be built. The planner requires application of several optimisation algorithms, including those which consider route parameters, the selection of fleet vehicles available for the given task, cargo distribution over the vehicle etc. The article defines both primary and secondary criteria that such a planner should take into account, including the environmental ones. What the authors have also highlighted is the possibility to make use of open data sources. The approach they have proposed makes it possible to raise the level of environmental awareness at the first and the last mile management stage, and since multiple transport aspects have been addressed, it also increases planning efficiency. Goals: The purpose of the article has been to discuss an eco-friendly solution which may limit the negative environmental impact of transport. Conclusions: The solution described in the paper may change the manner in which freight transport is managed in cities. Taking environmental criteria into consideration makes it possible to reduce the negative environmental impact of transport. Planning of freight transport requires that far more criteria should be taken into account compared to route planning for the travelling population. A comprehensive fleet management platform featuring a planning module combined with other modules of the S-mileSys system being currently developed is also aimed at integration of large freight companies with the carriers that service first and last miles.
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