Smart Method for Self-Organization in Last-Mile Parcel Delivery

Ron van Duin, T.S. Vlot, Lorant Tavasszy, M.B. Duinkerken, Bernd van Dijk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Parcel delivery operators experience an increasing pressure to meet the strongly growing demand for delivery services, while protecting city livability and the environment. Improving the performance of the last mile of delivery is considered key in meeting this challenge as it forms the most inefficient, expensive, and environmentally unfriendly part of delivery operations. A primary cause is a significant duplication of service areas, resulting in redundant vehicle kilometers traveled. In this paper, a new method is presented that allows for the allocation of parcels to delivery vehicles and construction of vehicle routes in real time through an auctioning system. These tasks are performed in a self-organizing manner by vehicles, parcels, and a supporting platform, to allow for collaborative and intermodal delivery. The performance of this new method is tested and compared against the currently used techniques using an agent-based simulation model. The new method manages to greatly improve the efficiency, robustness, and flexibility of delivery operations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2674
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventTRB 100th Annual Meeting - Online due to COVID-19, Washington, United States
Duration: 8 Jan 202129 Jan 2021
Conference number: 100


  • self organization
  • Parcel delivery
  • Algorithm
  • city logistics

Cite this