Can America’s Infrastructure Withstand The Digital Economy?

Can America’s Infrastructure Withstand The Digital Economy?

January 16, 20202 min read

When a city like New York is facing a continuous delivery stream of more than 1.5 million packages a day, something has to give.


The growing number of sales by Amazon and other online retailers, combined with rapid delivery options, is choking streets within major metropolitan cities.


This issue was recently featured in The New York Times — and when the journalists needed an expert perspective, they contacted Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Here's an excerpt:


The average number of daily deliveries to households in New York City tripled to more than 1.1 million shipments from 2009 to 2017, the latest year for which data was available, according to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Center of Excellence for Sustainable Urban Freight Systems.

“It is impossible to triple the amount,” said José Holguín-Veras, the center’s director and an engineering professor at Rensselaer, “without paying consequences.”

Households now receive more shipments than businesses, pushing trucks into neighborhoods where they had rarely ventured.

And it could be just the beginning. Just 10 percent of all retail transactions in the United States during the first quarter of 2019 were made online, up from 4 percent a decade ago, according to the Census Bureau.  

The New York Times, October 28, 2019

If you are a reporter covering this or a similar topic, let our experts help!

Professor José Holguín-Veras is the Director of the Center for Infrastructure, Transportation, and the Environment (CITE) at Rensselaer. He is a leading authority in freight transportation and humanitarian logistics.

Professor Holguín-Veras is available to speak with media regarding the ongoing difficulties cities are facing as shopping moves online and to the streets. Simply click on his icon to arrange an interview.

Connect with:
  • José Holguín-Veras
    José Holguín-Veras Director, Center for Infrastructure, Transportation, and the Environment (CITE) & William H. Hart Chair Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

    He is a world expert in freight transportation planning and policy and disaster response logistics

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