The relationship between retail type and transportation emissions
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This study investigates the relationship between three types of retail, Big Box, traditional and online retail, and their transportation related emissions. The study takes a comprehensive approach by examining both the consumer and freight emissions associated with each retail type. The retail environment has been evolving dramatically over the past 60 years, and this has many effects on an urban environment that are important for urban planners to understand. Although retail can influence the city in many different ways, this study isolates transportation. Using case studies in the Greater Toronto Area and the Transportation Tomorrow Survey, a scenario model is applied to compare the retail types. The key influences examined in the scenarios that alter consumer related emissions are return rate, the number of items bought, trips where no items are bought, trip chaining and browsing before buying online. The key influences on freight transportation are the not at home delivery scenario and the number of items delivered. The results show that as a base case, Big Box retail has the largest emissions, traditional retail the second largest and online retail the smallest emissions. Consumer transportation has a larger impact on the total emissions than freight transportation, which is the main reason Big Box retail has the largest emissions. However, the various scenarios examined demonstrate that the key influence can have a very large impact on the results, making it difficult to conclusively say Big Box retail has the largest emissions associated with it. Conclusions that can be drawn from this study for urban planners are that for physical retail, traditional style retail tends to have smaller emissions. As well, the key influences, in particular those associated with consumer behavior, have the potential to greatly reduce emissions. Therefore, strategies to influence consumer behavior should be explored.