Online shopping may be the answer to helping the environment. After all, people don’t use their cars just to go to the mall, polluting the environment on way. However, a new research shows that while online stores use less space and energy, the trucks that deliver products on their destinations emit high pollutants and deteriorate the pavements, affecting the environment.

This has led the scientists from the University of Delaware to believe that shopping at home impacts the local transportation network more significantly than previously thought. The researchers analysed a survey of online shopping behaviour and took note of the travel time, delay, speed, and greenhouse gas productions.

Flickr/ Mikhail (Vokabre) ShcherbakovFlickr/ Mikhail (Vokabre) Shcherbakov

Flickr/ Mikhail (Vokabre) Shcherbakov

They found that trucks emit high amounts of greenhouse gases to transport products. The findings also show that online shopping influenced the use of lands, including the number and size of stores with parking spaces.

Plus, the researchers note that residential streets are not equipped for heavy traffic, so delays occur frequently. These streets even make transportation complicated that unloading and unloading may cause a few safety concerns.

“We found that the total number of vehicles miles travelled hasn’t decreased at all with the growth of online shopping,” Arde Faghri, a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and director of the Delaware Centre for Transportation (DCT), said in a press release. “This suggests that people are using the time they save by shopping on the internet to do other things like eating out at restaurants, going to the movies, or visiting friends.”

However, the researchers note that the study only looked at a small geographical area. Still, when planning and budgeting for infrastructure purposes, urban planners are urged to take into consideration the effects of home shopping and come up with a plan that would not affect or at least minimise the impact on the environment.