Mitigating the Impacts of Delivery Services

How cities can minimize the impact of delivery vehicles on air quality and congestion through effective curb management and zero-emission delivery zones.

2 minute read

November 28, 2022, 6:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


UPS delivery truck parked by urban sidewalk

An Errant Knight / UPS truck

As urban delivery services become more common for a wider variety of goods and services, cities are looking at ways to cut down on the emissions and congestion caused by delivery vehicles. Writing in The City Fix, Hamilton Steimer and Vishant Kothari outline the results of a paper from the World Resources Institute (WRI) that assesses efforts to create ‘zero-emission delivery’ zones in the United States and the Netherlands.

As the article explains, “Zero-emission delivery zones are areas in which only zero-emission vehicles have unrestricted access, with fossil fuel vehicles either prohibited from entry or required to pay a fee for access.” The zones can take a variety of forms, from voluntary zones to localized pick-up locations and curbside spaces reserved for ZEVs.

The authors provide detail on the city of Los Angeles’ zero-emission commercial loading zones, which regulate curbside management in five dense areas with high demand for commercial loading and high levels of air pollution. “If expanded, zero-emission loading zones could discourage fossil fuel vehicle use in specific areas, incentivize a shift to zero-emission delivery throughout Los Angeles, and reduce residents’ exposure to air pollutants like particulate matter and nitrous oxides.”

The paper also provides five recommendations for developing and implementing zero-emission delivery zones successfully. As the authors caution, “Without proper design and implementation, zero-emission delivery zones and supportive policies could exacerbate existing inequities, such as diverting polluting freight traffic through neighborhoods outside the zone or failing to supply small businesses in the zone with the necessary financial support to purchase ZEVs.”

Monday, November 21, 2022 in The City Fix

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