Two relations are at the core of freight distribution and urban areas; the land and distribution dynamics:
- Freight land dynamics. Freight is an activity that consumes substantial land as an input, particularly at the aggregate level (routes, modes, and terminals). Since a city is simultaneously a unit of production, consumption, and distribution, terminal facilities, such as ports, airports, railyard, and distribution centers, are particularly large consumers of urban land. Rights of way, such as roads, many of which are shared with passenger transportation, also consume a significant amount of land. The amount of land use devoted to freight varies in terms of the socio-economic function of a city (e.g. a service or a manufacturing center) and its role in the global freight distribution system.
- Freight distribution dynamics. The support of freight as an urban activity relies on distribution strategies, including modal choice, that ensure an adequate level of service so that providers of city logistics are able to meet the needs of their customers. City logistics is commonly known as a “last mile” distribution strategy to ensure that the needs of the urban producer and consumer of freight (e.g. retail) are met.