Residential communities across the country, including homes, apartment buildings and condominium complexes, are experiencing a huge increase in package deliveries – and the accompanying problems these are creating.
Consumers today are spending less time in retail stores and more time purchasing online, buying not only consumer goods or office supplies, but a burgeoning amount of groceries. According to the Los Angeles Times, the surge in deliveries is due to, “the rise of e-commerce and the allure of next-day and same-day delivery, for all its convenience to consumers.” In turn, such buying activity “has hit transportation like a tidal wave.”
The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board estimates that, on average, each person in the U.S. generates demand for roughly of freight each year. In 2010, the United States Post Office —which has overtaken both FedEx and UPS as the largest parcel-delivery service in the country — 3.1 billion packages nationwide. That amount grew to 5.1 billion packages in 2016. In turn, the explosion of e-commerce is fueling a corresponding rise in the number of delivery vehicles — box trucks, smaller vans, and cars alike — on city streets.
While truck traffic currently represents about seven percent of urban traffic in American cities, it bears a disproportionate . Cities, struggling to keep up with the deluge of delivery drivers, are seeing their curb space and streets overtaken by double-parked vehicles, and on top of it, the increase in pollution and road wear.
Here are six ways cities are dealing with the deluge of packages hitting their communities:
1. Off-Hour Deliveries
In 2010, New York City launched its , in which participants agreed to shift their delivery windows to between 7 pm and 6 am. Residential offices receiving packages found that deliveries made outside standard business hours saved their staffs from cumbersome package management, reduced traffic and enabled more time to serve residents. Carriers found that their trucks could make more deliveries in the same amount of time, they saved money on fuel costs, they could use a smaller fleet by better utilizing daytime and nighttime deliveries, and that legal parking was more readily available. In addition, their drivers reported feeling safer and less stressed.
2. Shipping and Transportation Collaborations
The creation of two collaborative efforts is breathing new life into the sustainability of urban freight.
The new seeks to create a framework that fosters collaboration between cities, the private sector, and academia to tackle the emerging package delivery challenge. Center researchers seek to develop and identify a holistic, integrated suite of technologies, regulations, and incentives to help shape a new paradigm of freight transportation systems that are more cost efficient and energy efficient, and less disruptive to urban commuter traffic.
3. Parcel Lockers
“Residents now enjoy the 24/7 safe and secure access.”
UPS is integrating across its U.S. routes its , Orion, or On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation. As a UPS driver travels his route, Orion works in the background considering up to 200,000 possible routes before picking the most optimal path for a driver to take to reduce the overall time spent driving around from delivery to delivery. By maximizing the benefits of IoT,
Many experts are foreseeing the day when deliveries are made without the need of human driver. , , and many other shipping companies have been experimenting with autonomous delivery, while made its first delivery in 2016. Driverless cars promise not only efficiency, but safer roads for all.
6. Bicycle Delivery
One delivery vehicle that is small, quiet and emission free is the bicycle. By bypassing traffic gridlock, bicycles can deliver packages more quickly than delivery trucks.
As a sign of the times, the big shippers are moving into cycle logistics. 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 bicycles.
Delivery companies are also experimenting with ways to reduce their impact. Late last year, UPS its first “eBike” deliveries in Portland. Their aim is twofold: Reduce carbon emissions while putting a delivery vehicle on the road small enough to take advantage of curb space.
By utilizing a combination of technologies, incentives, data, and creative planning, cities around the world are making the receiving of online goods as efficient as ordering them – without clogging their roadways.
Mike Downey is a guest blogger for Parcel Pending, a leading provider of package management solutions to simplify and secure the parcel delivery business. Visit www.parcelpending.com for more information.