Scant Examples of Innovative Shipping Delivery Programs

Urban freight deliveries are expected to grow 40 percent by 2050, according to the 2017 Material Handling Industry’s annual report. Cities aren't yet ready to keep up with the changing times.

2 minute read

February 9, 2019, 1:00 PM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Deliveries Truck

Philip Lange / Shutterstock

Emma Kantrowitz surveys the landscape of U.S. policy for examples of cities effectively responding to increased urban freight deliveries and finds only a few examples to choose from.

New York would seem to have more reason than any city in the United States to deal with the challenges of curbside delivery and increase freight traffic on city streets. So far, the city's response includes a Smart Truck Management plan in the works at the New York City’s Department of Transportation. Also, "the DOT has already implemented their Off-Hour Deliveries program, which encourages deliveries between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. to help relieve midday congestion," according to Kantrowitz.

Another example is found in Seattle, where "UPS is testing delivery by electric bicycle, which can haul up to 400 pounds in large, preloaded crates. The eBike service leaves more room for deliveries on already crowded streets, helps reduce carbon emissions and is already available in over 30 cities globally."

"The Seattle launch is the first permanent program in the U.S.," according o Kantrowitz.

One ongoing challenge limiting the adoption of targeted programs designed to mitigate the impacts of increased shipping and delivery demand in urban areas.

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