Spatially Integrated Models to Improve Urban Freight Transport Systems

The project aims to develop a “sustainable urban freight distribution,” model which maximises the distribution efficiency, while minimising the environmental and social impacts, of the distribution of goods in urban areas. It aims to optimise the complete door-to-door logistics chain to enhance liveability of urban areas as places to live and work.

Research Problem

Urban Freight Transport (UTF) is indispensable to the functioning of urban systems as it is required to replenish stocks of food and other retail goods in shops, to deliver documents, parcels and other supplies to offices and to remove household waste from urban areas. Although UFT has these important roles in the economic welfare of cities and therefore supports urban economies, it has a number of negative effects including road congestion, air quality, Greenhouse gas emissions, noise pollution and public safety. Inefficiency in freight distribution in urban areas contributes to these negative effects. The logistics inefficiency in UFT can be improve by managing low load factors and empty running, reduced number of deliveries or unconsolidated distribution, and long dwell times at loading and unloading points. Technology-driven solutions to these challenges are required to reduce this inefficiency, which leads to additional costs for transport operators or users.

Proposed Output

This project will generate innovative spatially integrated solutions to improve urban freight transport by enabling economies of scale to be achieved through urban consolidation, to promote efficiency, and to enhance performance.

This project is aligned to the research priority of the Urban Future ECP to generate innovative spatially integrated big-data driven optimisation models/tools to “inform urban decision-making and to promote and advance the efficient design, planning and delivery of sustainable urban environments and services” using Smart Cities Analytics.

Proposed postgraduate research program

  • School: School of Business IT and Logistics
  • Course name: DR202
  • Program name: PhD (Supply Chain Management)

Value and duration

A stipend of $32,000 per year over the duration of three years.

Number of scholarships available



To be considered for scholarship you must hold, or be currently completing either:

  • Master by research 
  • Master by coursework with a significant research component graded as high distinction, or equivalent 
  • Honours degree achieving first class honours 
  • 4 year bachelor degree achieving a GPA of 4 or equivalent (80% or above). 

If you do not hold one of the above qualifications you will only be considered for scholarship if you have previous peer reviewed publications or significant research experience. 

Please make sure that you check the individual eligibility requirements of these scholarships prior to submitting your application. 

It is also important to note that the scholarship rounds are highly competitive and satisfying the eligibility requirements does not guarantee a successful outcome. When a scholarship round closes all applications are received are ranked in order of merit. This process takes five to six weeks to complete. Applicants are typically advised of the outcome of a scholarship round five to six weeks after the round closes for applications.

How to apply

How to apply: International applicants need to apply for admission via  and ensure that there is an offer in place before submitting a scholarship application via the Graduate Research Scholarship application form. Domestic applicants can continue to apply for both admission and scholarship via this Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Admission and Scholarship Application Form (PDF). Domestic applicants who already hold an offer of admission from RMIT for a PhD or Masters by Research program but have not enrolled may apply for a scholarship using the Graduate Research Scholarship application form.

Open date

Applications are open until 4 May 2018. International applicants must have an offer of place prior to applying for a scholarship and are encouraged to submit an admission application by 27 April 2018.

Terms and conditions

See the research scholarship terms and conditions (PDF 327KB) for more information.