International audience; On the forward side, the growth of E-commerce in recent years substantially generates additional packets and parcels for distribution; meanwhile, on the reverse side, collecting returned goods is also becoming a preoccupation of sustainability, especially in metropolitan areas. Inspired by the concepts of crowdsourcing and the Physical Internet, in this paper, we propose an innovative solution that seeks to exploit the extra loading capacity and constant mobility from taxis in metropolitan areas to collect and delivery the e-commerce returns from final consumption points back to retailers. We assume that, on one hand, e-retailers will have incentive to outsource this task; on the other hand, taxi drivers will also be motivated because they can earn a little extra money from the shipments that they have fulfilled. As an alternative to the traditional ways, the solution proposed is more sustainable because it could simultaneously reduce the economical (pickup and transportation costs), environmental (CO 2 emissions, energy consumption, traffic congestion in city), and social (the wastes of the impulse buying, reduced incitation of online shopping) impacts resulted from reverse flows management in metropolitan areas. As the first qualitative and quantitative study of the concept, this paper uses open databases of taxi GPS traces and locations of shops in a large city in China for investigating the feasibility and viability of the solution proposed. Two collection strategies are proposed and evaluated by an optimization-based simulation model. The results generate several useful insights to the implementability and managerial issues of the concept.
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