Assessing Public Health Benefits of Replacing Freight Trucks with Cargo Cycles in Last Leg Delivery Trips in Urban Centers

This proposed study seeks to cultivate interest in policy and practice to understand and examine the use of non-motorized cargo cycles as an innovative strategy to freight-induced congestion, pollution and noise problems in urban centers.  

Our research will investigate the potential of cargo cycles to deliver last mile freight in a San Francisco Bay Area community. In the first phase of the research, the investigative team will establish partnerships with local transportation experts and work with them to identify a study site. The research team will conduct a literature review on national and international efforts to utilize cargo cycles for freight delivery. Once the study site is identified, data collection efforts will include interviews with key stakeholders and focus groups to examine the nature and extent of the problem of noise, pollution, and traffic congestion produced by freight vehicles in the selected community. 

In the second phase of research, noise and pollution produced by freight will be analyzed for the focus community. Data will be collected for the use in modeling the impact of reduction of freight delivery with cargo cycles. The research team will conduct model simulation and analyze the results. The final phase of our research will be to develop research reports and disseminate research findings through community meetings and published manuscripts. 

Data collected from the interviews, focus groups, and modeling will inform cargo cycle policy development for the study area and will encourage adoption of cargo cycles for other municipalities where congestion, pollution and other public health impacts from freight delivery are of concern. The specific outcomes include:

  1.  Evaluate the impact of replacing freight trucks with cargo cycles on mobility, traffic efficiency and emissions.
  2.  Determine what circumstances cargo cycles can replace freight trucks and how private commercial businesses can change their packing/delivery practices to achieve policy goals of sustainability, mobility, improved environmental and public health (noise, road safety) outcomes.     
  3.  Provide recommendations to improve the availability of facilities, such as consolidation centers and dedicated bike lanes, to adopt this freight delivery.
Mineta Consortium for Transportation Mobility
San José State University
Principal Investigator: 
Jennifer Hartle
PI Contact Information: 

Mineta Transportation Institute
San José State University
210 N. 4th St., 4th Floor
San José, CA 95112

Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization): 

California Department of Transportation – $116,353.20

Total Project Cost: 
Agency ID or Contract Number: 
February 2020 to September 2021
Project Number: 



Contact Us

SJSU Research Foundation   210 N. 4th Street, 4th Floor, San Jose, CA 95112    Phone: 408-924-7560   Email: