ISE Seminar Series

E-Cargo Bike Deliveries and Microhubs in Urban Areas: Experiences from a Pilot Study in Toronto

Matthew Roorda.

Matthew Roorda

Professor, Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering, University of Toronto

February 23, 2024 | 12-12:50 p.m. | 20 Knox Hall


Electrically assisted cycles are a viable alternative and a new mode of last mile urban freight deliveries in North America. They have the potential to reduce negative externalities of freight transport. However, regulatory and logistical barriers have prevented their widespread use. This talk will describe a pilot study in downtown Toronto which consists of electrically assisted cargo tricycles and a micro-hub on the University of Toronto campus. The regulatory challenges that were overcome to initiate the pilot will be described. Our before/after comparison of cargo tricycle and truck deliveries will be presented including our consideration of environmental, health, and operational characteristics. We gathered data from GPS sensors, engine sensors, air quality sensors, and driver logs for shipment pickup/deliveries. We found that one cargo tricycle can replace one delivery truck without compromising the operational efficiency. Electric cargo tricycles can substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions and have positive impacts on driver’s health. We will also share our findings on the potential efficiency of e-cargo bike deliveries more broadly across the City of Toronto, as a potential next phase of implementation.


Dr. Matthew Roorda, Ph.D., P.Eng. is a Professor of Civil Engineering, has been faculty at the University of Toronto since 2005, and has worked in the transportation engineering profession since 1998. He is the Canada Research Chair in Freight Transportation and Logistics and leads the scientific advisory committee of the Smart Freight Centre. Dr. Roorda’s research interests include urban freight transportation, freight planning and operations, freight and passenger travel survey methods, city logistics, agent-based simulation, parking and curbside management, street and neighbourhood design, emissions analysis, activity-based travel demand modelling, and firm behaviour.

Event Date: February 23, 2024