The second project “Fair Infrastructure for City Couriers” is for TNO.

The projects current situation

At this moment, meal delivery is more popular than ever! This has resulted in an increased market demand of efficient shipping organization. This puzzle of pick up and deliver of meals requires an efficient and optimized organization of the restaurants and couriers. Third parties, so-called two- or multi-sided platforms, have appeared on the market and have taken over this organization from the restaurants. These third parties have grown very fast and gained a lot of power over the past years. This makes it difficult for other companies to compete, leaving restaurants no other choice than to collaborate with these powerful companies. And this enables the dominant third parties to charge high margins for their services, in disadvantage of suppliers, couriers, and consumers. 

Research question

 Our client, TNO, wants us to investigate the options for a delivery service platform which is not governed by a single company. Therefore, we first need to understand how current platforms operate and what are the pros and cons of their organization model. Using this information, we can make an overview of the mechanisms and solutions for creating a fair and neutral platform, which excludes for-profit third parties from the market. 

Solution

 During this project we will investigate the applicability of an open, neutral distribution platform for city distribution by bike couriers in Amsterdam. A possible base for such a platform is blockchain, which is a distributed database that contains immutable transactional data. Since such a method leaves out a central company that mediates the collaboration between stakeholder, the system is based on an innovative trust mechanism. During this project we will investigate the different options for such a mechanism.

Deliverables

  The goal of this project is to get insight into the applicability a blockchain-based distribution platform. We will first create a stakeholder map, in which all stakeholders and their interests are positioned on the market. Secondly, we will make a functionality map, in which we investigate how the stakeholders are connected and what is necessary for good collaboration. After we have created insight in how the market is organized, we will create a technical map in which we describe whether the technical aspects of blockchain can meet the requirements of the platform. This will optionally be extended by implementing a prototype of the platform. In a report we will describe the results of our research and a concluding recommendation of whether and how a block-chain platform should be implemented. 

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