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Quick Internet Delivery Services Clog City Streets with Delivery Trucks

Services like Amazon Prime and other quick delivery online retailers are creating more demand for short trip delivery, the result is streets jammed with vans. Bikes may offer an alternative.
December 2, 2016, 1pm PST | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Scott Lewis

According to Alexa, a website tracking company owned by Nielsen, Amazon.com generates the eighth most traffic of any website in the world, and according to a Quartz article by Benjamin Rieder, they may generate a high volume of the world’s road traffic as well. "Just a few years ago, delivery in urban centers was about dropping off large volumes of goods at shops. Today, it’s about delivering small numbers of parcels to different addresses, often directly to consumers," Rieder writes.  This change in how people get goods means more small trips within cities and more cars on the road. "Many consumers now expect their parcels to be shipped on the day they place the order and, if possible, delivered to within a very specific timeslot," Rieder explains.

Cities trying to adjust to this traffic trend are attempting to mitigate the congestion caused by online retailers. "There is a push to “internalize the net external costs” of deliveries," Rieder writes. This push involves things like low-emissions zones where trucks are banned and strict time slots for delivery vehicles.

Rieder argues that bike delivery services, like Bubble Post, which he co-founded, can ameliorate this problem, saying, "Not only can bicycles deliver packages more quickly than delivery trucks by bypassing traffic gridlocks, they’re also more energy efficient." He goes on to point out that bike delivery is growing in parts of Europe: "DHL Express, a large shipping company in the Netherlands, said at the ECLF conference that it wanted to replace 10% of its fleet with bikes, and that 65% of its urban routes would be delivered by bikes."

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Published on Tuesday, November 22, 2016 in Quartz
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