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, 1:00 PM PST

By Casey Brazeal @northandclark

Amazon Warehouse

Scott Lewis / Flickr

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."

Tuesday, November 22, 2016 in Quartz

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

LAX Cars

Car Noise Is Killing Us

It’s not just traffic collisions that kill—a new study from researcher at Rutgers finds that the loud noises emanating from cars has direct impact on heart health in Americans.

May 6, 2022 - Streetsblog USA

Rittenhouse Square, a park in Philadelphia, framed by large buildings.

Parks as a Weapon Against Climate Change

The 2022 ParkScore finds that cities are increasingly employing green space as a tool for mitigating heat and extreme weather effects, but the distribution of parks remains inequitable.

May 16 - Trust for Public Land

View of Louisiana state capitol building and downton Baton Rouge, LA

Louisiana Capital Shifting to Electric Transit

The Baton Rouge area is now served by a fleet of nine all-electric buses.

May 16 - American Journal of Transportation

Mount Rainier

New Community Engagement Practices for Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan Update

A major update of Seattle’s comprehensive plan is just getting under way, with new opportunities for local groups to get involved with outreach and engagement.

May 16 - Capitol Hill Seattle Blog

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.