E-commerce and Its Effects On Transport and Local Supply in Cities - the Case of Berlin

E-commerce and Its Effects On Transport and Local Supply in Cities - the Case of Berlin


B Lenz, German Aerospace Center, DE



The use of business-to-consumer E-Commerce (B2C) increases slowly but surely all over Europe. In Germany, for example, the online sales went up to almost 2% of the entire retail sales in 2003, and analysts expect further expansion. From the transportation perspective the question is if the shift from ?physical? to online shopping has any effect on the amount and the pattern of shopping transport. This concerns both the purchase and the deliveries transport: Theoretically, purchase transport will decrease while deliveries transport increases, but can be reduced so that the outcome is traffic reduction as a net effect. From the city perspective the open questions concern the structural changes of direct or ?physical? demand (Which shopping places will be or not be affected by a shift to E-Commerce?) and on the changes in transport flows when deliveries transport into housing areas is substituted for purchase transport out of housing areas.
The contribution will develop in its first part a general framework for estimating potential effects of E-commerce on transport and shopping places in the city integrating both types of transport ? purchase and deliveries. The second part will explore these effects for the case of the city of Berlin, Germany. It will use the data from a survey held in 2003 in 3.600 households. The content of the survey was about spatial and online shopping behaviour. It focussed on the question where and how people carry out their shopping activities ? concerning 14 product groups in or around the city and which products they buy online. The data allow defining product specific shopping places and their exposure to online shopping as well as the relation from shopping to living and working place.


Association for European Transport