The objective of this research is to conduct a comparative analysis of the phenomenon of logistics sprawl in U.S. metropolitan areas that have been selected based on three criteria: the 10 largest logistics hubs in terms of the number of warehouses; cities with a very high rate of growth in the number of warehouses (above 30%); and intermediate-sized cities that complete the top of the U.S. urban hierarchy. This research therefore seeks to complement the numerous scientific studies on logistics sprawl conducted previously with a comparative approach between metropolitan areas and a dynamic approach over time..
To conduct this research, we used the federal County Business Patterns database available in open access. We took as reference the years 2008, 2012, 2018 and then we integrated the year 2019 whose data was published at the end of April of this year. The mapping allows for the representation of the gross number of warehouses per zip code, the density of warehouses per zip code and the temporal evolution of the number of warehouses. Following the mapping, a comparative geographic analysis was conducted to identify the spatial structures of the warehouse sector and to serve as a basis for developing a typology to identify trajectories by group of metropolitan areas. Finally, to represent logistics sprawl, a centrographic analysis and a calculation of the barycenters were performed.
We propose a typology of warehousing spatial patterns in the United States for the most recent years. We have identified three preliminary findings (the research is still under way):
the accentuation of logistics sprawl in many CSAs studied including the intermediate-size CSAs;
a double movement: on the one hand a reinforced concentration of warehouses in large metropolitan areas and on the other hand a decentralization dissemination within these metropolitan areas;
an evolution in the spatial structures of logistics that confirms the megaregion as a relevant scale for analysis.
Keywords: warehouses|United States |spatial patterns|urban logistics |logistics sprawl