MIT Megacity Logistics Lab

RESEARCH

Better logistics for cities. Better cities for logistics.

Distribution Network Design

We develop interactive, data-driven optimization and simulation models that help designing better last-mile distribution networks and delivery models to serve demand in congested urban centers more efficiently.

Urban Freight Infrastructure

We combine data analytics, mathematical modeling, and industry best practices to guide freight infrastructure investments and policy design to make cities more livable and last-mile logistics operations more sustainable.

Logistics Big Data Analytics

We develop analytical methods and tools to navigate and analyze the vast amounts of data generated by logistics operations every day in order to derive intelligible and actionable insights that help improve last-mile performance.

Last-Mile Technology Innovation

We conduct inter-disciplinary research to identify potentially disruptive technology innovations, assess their impact on last-mile distribution, and support their adoption in the marketplace.

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Impact

We aim to combine original academic contributions with solving relevant real-world problems.
The last mile is one of the most costly and complex steps in the supply chain.

Logistics is an enabler of quality of life in cities: it delivers goods and services to city dwellers enabling them to enjoy all the benefits of the urban environment. There are, however, three major drivers of increased complexity of urban logistics networks that calls for a new thinking on city logistics. First, urbanization is progressing at a high pace. In particular, cities in the emerging markets are becoming the new global economic hot spots. The rapid increase of the number of megacities with more than 10 million inhabitants around the world is an example of a new era of urbanization. Second, the growth of electronic and mobile commerce is triggering an increasing amount of direct shipments from manufacturers and retailers to individuals. Direct deliveries do not only increase complexity of last-mile urban transportation networks, they also lead to fragmentation of shipments and higher complexity and greater need for coordination between consumers, retailers and manufacturers to distribute goods efficiently. Finally, on-going efforts from cities to invest in public transportation, limiting road access and parking spaces in favor of pedestrian and public transit infrastructure, disproportionally impact logistics operations. With urban freight generating an important share of urban congestion and pollution, private and public sector need to collaborate to improve the quality of life in urban environments. The MIT Megacity Logistics Lab addresses these challenges by bringing together business, logistics, and urban planning perspectives to develop appropriate technologies, infrastructures and policies for sustainable urban logistics operations. While megacities constitute the most complex urban environments, we consider urban areas of all sizes. Our work aims to promote new urban delivery models, from unattended home delivery solutions, to smart locker systems, to click & collect services. We are pushing the limits of existing logistics network designs as future city logistics networks need to support omni-channel retail models, smaller store formats, increased intensity of deliveries, coordinate multiple transshipment points, engage a wider range of vehicle technologies – including electric and autonomous vehicles – and support complex inventory balancing and deployment strategies.

  • Percent of global population will live in cities by 2050

    United Nations

  • Percent of global GDP growth until 2025 will come from 600 largest cities

    McKinsey Global Institute

  • Percent annual growth rate of global e-commerce volume in 2016

    eMarketer

  • Percent of transportation cost occur in the last mile

    Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals

Our Team

We are a group of researchers dedicated to solving the challenges of last-mile distribution in an urbanized world.
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Matthias Winkenbach

Director
Dr. Matthias Winkenbach is a Research Associate at the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics and the Director of the MIT Megacity Logistics Lab and the MIT Visual Analytics Lab. Prior to joining MIT, he gained international work experience in consulting and various other industries.
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Daniel E. Merchán

PhD Candidate | Research Assistant
Daniel E. Merchán is a second-year PhD student with the MIT Engineering Systems Division and a Research Assistant at the MIT Megacity Logistics Lab. Prior to joining MIT, he gained experience in academic teaching and consulting in Latin America and the US.
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André C. Snoeck

PhD Candidate | Research Assistant
André C. Snoeck is a first-year PhD student at the MIT Department of Civil Engineering and a Research Assistant at the MIT Megacity Logistics Lab. Prior to joining MIT, he engaged in a team of innovators at TU Eindhoven winning the 2015 World Solar Challenge with their solar electric concept car.
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Yin Jin Lee

PhD Candidate | Research Assistant
Yin Jin Lee is a third-year PhD student with the MIT Engineering Systems Division and a Research Assistant at the MIT Megacity Logistics Lab.
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Estéban Mascarino

MSc Candidate | Research Assitant
Estéban Mascarino is a Master student at the MIT Department of Civil Engineering and a Research Assistant at the MIT Megacity Logistics Lab. Prior to joining MIT, he gained multiple years of work experience in the vehicle manufacturing industry.
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Sergio A. Caballero

Post-Doctoral Researcher
Dr. Sergio A. Caballero is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics working with the MIT Megacity Logistics Lab. Prior to joining MIT, he gained comprehensive teaching and research experience at Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico City.
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Eva Ponce

Research Associate
Dr. Eva Ponce is a Research Associate and the Executive Director of the MITx MicroMasters in Supply Chain Management at the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics.
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Edgar E. Blanco

Advisor
Dr. Edgar E. Blanco founded the MIT Megacity Logistics Lab in 2012 and was its Director until he left MIT in 2015 to join industry. Since then, he is a valuable advisor to the lab and supporter of our research efforts.

Get to know our latest initiative: the MIT Visual Analytics Lab

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