Demand Responsive Delivery of Food in Baltimore City Food Deserts (Core Project)

Project Abstract

Food deserts exist in Baltimore City and access to healthy foods is particularly difficult and costly for disadvantaged urban residents. Grocery stores are few and far between. Shoppers depend on corner stores with limited food selections and/or pay for "hacks" (extralegal taxis) for infrequent shopping trips. Food delivery through grocery stores and for-profit delivery services are costly and inconsistent in the city. Urban residents require secure, time sensitive and precise delivery services. This study will identify technological options for demand responsive food delivery, autonomous shuttles and drones, and build business models and optimized logistical systems for food delivery by non-profit groups. Simulations, sensitivity analyses and life-cycle costing will evaluate the various options to reach recommendations.

Universities and Sponsoring Organizations Involved

Morgan State University, U.S. Department of Transportation Office of the Secretary-Research

Principal Investigators

Hyeon-Shic Shin (MSU)
Richard Pitts (MSU)

Funding Sources and Amounts

USDOT: $40,000 (federal/UMEC); University: $20,000 (match)

Start Date

June 1, 2019

Expected Completion Date

April 30, 2020

Expected Research Outcomes

Recommended business model(s), logistical network(s) and a pilot program for demand responsive food delivery in Baltimore City. Non-profit organizations could use the results to develop delivery services for residents in high density urban environments.

Expected Equity Impacts and Benefits of Implementation

A sustainable food delivery network for disadvantaged Baltimore City residents will make available healthy food options delivered in a cost-efficient, time-sensitive and secure manner.

Subject Areas

Autonomous delivery vehicles, drone package delivery, food deserts, logistical systems for "last mile" delivery.