Distribution facilities in California: A dynamic landscape and equity considerations


  • Miguel Jaller University of California, Davis
  • Xiuli Zhang University of California, Davis
  • Xiaodong Qian Wayne State University




Los Angeles, disadvantaged communities, environmental justice, Freight Facilities, California


This work studies the distribution of warehouses and distribution centers (W&DCs) in California and analyzes their potential relationships with disadvantaged communities (DACs). Through aggregated spatial analyses and econometric modeling, the research compares the concentration of W&DCs in five metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in California. The analyses show that the weighted geometric centers of W&DCs have shifted slightly toward city central areas in all five MPOs in the last few years, contrasting to the logistics sprawl trends evidenced in previous research. In the Bay Area and Southern California, W&DCs are more prevalent in areas with higher pollution burden, according to the CalEnviroScreen (CS) score. In Southern California, the study analyzes disaggregate industrial real estate data of 49,697 property transactions (properties sold) between 1989 and 2018. On average, the size of the facilities transacted have decreased, especially for those closer to the urban center. These results are confirmed using parametric and non-parametric data analyses. During recent years, smaller and closer (to the urban core) facilities represent the largest share in the transactions, consistent with the trends in e-commerce and its associated distribution requirements. Moreover, the data show a disproportionate sitting of facilities in areas where DACs reside. The paper ends with a discussion of policy and planning recommendations.


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How to Cite

Jaller, M., Zhang, X., & Qian, X. (2022). Distribution facilities in California: A dynamic landscape and equity considerations. Journal of Transport and Land Use, 15(1), 755–778. https://doi.org/10.5198/jtlu.2022.2130