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Dr. Amaya Spoke on Sustainable Urban Logistics at Smeal's Recent Sustainability Research Seminar

Our world is made possible by deliveries. Think about it. Everything we are wearing, using and consuming was delivered and traveled by train, boat and especially truck.

Dr. Johanna Amaya spoke recently about the social and environmental impacts of this increasingly complex delivery system in urban areas at one of our Sustainability Research Seminars.

Dr. Amaya currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Management and is an expert on disaster response logistics, urban freight systems, urban logistics, and resilient supply chains. Prior to her work at Penn State, she served as faculty at Iowa State University. Her studies have focused on areas including Transportation Engineering, Business Logistics, and Industrial Engineering.

Dr. Amaya’s research talk focused on sustainable urban logistics. She has looked into how to address the conflicting perspectives held by three different stakeholders: citizens, carriers and receivers. Resolving these conflicts and reducing the “negative externalities” (e.g. pollution, poor air quality, traffic) generated by the movement of freight is critical while also ensuring safety and quality of life.

A cautionary tale from Bogota provides a useful example of how not to resolve these conflicts. In order to reduce traffic congestion and other issues, it was mandated that all deliveries happen at night. The result? It was impossible. The problem? City planners didn’t involve the right stakeholders in assessing the problem and in generating solutions. Dr. Amaya’s research is focused on getting the right voices to the decision-making table. Only then will logistics be efficient, effective and environmentally responsible.

Her research has demonstrated that:

  • All stakeholders (Carriers, Receivers and Citizens) see benefit in environmental initiatives and are willing to accept them if implemented

  • Local context matters and decision-makers must consider local conditions and realities before simply transferring programs from other urban areas.

  • Community engagement in freight planning is fundamental to informing good policy

For more information regarding Dr. Amaya’s research, check out her PSU bio or watch her presentation here.


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