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The Urban Freight Lab (UFL) serves as the University of Washington’s dedicated research hub for urban freight and city logistics. We focus on addressing urban freight challenges amidst explosive ecommerce growth, surging transportation emissions, and the pressing demand for improved equity and safety outcomes in communities across the country. We work across sectors and disciplines to identify and frame complex urban freight issues and to engineer and test innovative solutions that foster the sustainability, efficiency, and livability of urban spaces.

Our Approach: Collaborative Research to Drive Change

As a living lab, the UFL operates as a structured partnership composed of university researchers, public-sector agencies, and private-sector industry from across the transportation and logistics landscape. Our diverse membership spans retailers, infrastructure and operations technology providers, manufacturers, real estate entities, carriers, and shippers. We build trusted relationships between interconnected stakeholders to gain a comprehensive 360-degree perspective on challenges, thus enabling us to develop solutions that would be unattainable independently

Our research encompasses critical aspects of the urban freight system and includes optimizing goods movement, sustainable freight practices, curbspace management, zero-emissions freight, and freight activity modeling.

Exploring Urban Challenges

Since we launched in 2016, UFL has achieved significant milestones, successfully completing a robust suite of innovative research focused on a deeper understanding of the urban goods delivery system, coining the phrase the “Final 50 Feet”. In addition to spearheading the innovative Final 50 Feet research, we lead the nation in research at the intersection of emerging technology and user behaviors within the urban freight space. From curbspace technology to microhubs to e-cargo bikes, we bring a data-driven approach to evaluating new concepts. Our work has provided proven approaches to reduce dwell time, failed delivery attempts, and curbspace inefficiency, and informed deeper understanding on the link between commercial vehicles and traffic congestion, CO2 emissions, and delivery costs.