Urban freight policymaking: The role of qualitative and quantitative research

José Holguín-Veras, Johanna Amaya Leal, Barbara B. Seruya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The paper's fundamental tenet is that sound policymaking requires a solid understanding of how the target(s) of a policy would react to it. Transportation systems, particularly urban freight, are complex, heterogeneous, and often poorly understood by policymakers. Enacting policies that impact such a complex system can lead to ineffective efforts, and often, negative unintended effects. The best way to avoid these outcomes is to ensure that urban freight policy is supported by behavior research. To understand what kind of research most effectively supports sound policymaking, the authors conduct an ex-post assessment of qualitative and quantitative research techniques to determine which one more effectively predicts the behavioral changes that were seen by transportation users in response to transportation policies. The authors identify the key findings of five large research projects that, using qualitative and quantitative research, investigated the stated and revealed behavioral reactions of transportation users to pricing and incentive policies in the New York City metropolitan area. The findings are catalogued and used to compare insights gained from the qualitative research, and from the quantitative research conducted afterwards. The analyses shed light on the potential and the limitations of both approaches, the synergies that exist between them, and their potential in assisting the development of effective urban freight policies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-85
Number of pages11
JournalTransport Policy
StatePublished - May 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation


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