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Mayor Wu Announces Boston Delivers, an E-Cargo Bike Pilot Program

Mayor Wu Announces Boston Delivers, an E-Cargo Bike Pilot Program
Mayor Wu Announces Boston Delivers, an E-Cargo Bike Pilot Program
August 15, 2023   //   

Today Mayor Michelle Wu and the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) announced the launch of Boston Delivers, an e-cargo bike delivery pilot program, to serve local residents and businesses. This service will make deliveries to and from local businesses in Allston and the surrounding area. Instead of motor vehicles, packages will be delivered by electric cargo bikes. The program will launch in mid-September and run for at least a year, with the goal of supporting local businesses, reducing pollution, easing traffic congestion caused by the expansion of delivery services, and improving street safety.

“The way our small businesses and residents use our city’s curbs has changed over the last few years, and we’re launching Boston Delivers to explore how to make our streets flow more smoothly and safely for everyone,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “This bike delivery pilot will support restaurants with an affordable, green, and convenient delivery option while reducing congestion on our streets.”

“The growth of car-based delivery services has negatively impacted our streets by adding congestion and increasing unsafe and illegal parking,” said Jascha Franklin-Hodge, Chief of Streets. “This pilot will help us explore alternatives by offering convenient delivery options that support neighborhood businesses while keeping our streets safe and moving.”

“Kudos to the Boston Transportation Department, where vision, persistence, and creativity have created an innovative pilot program which will generate goodwill and good data,” said City Councilor Liz Breadon. “We are very proud of Allston’s local businesses, including its abundant restaurants which feature cuisines from all over the world. Allston-Brighton residents are ready to make this green transportation program a great success.”

The rise of delivery services following the pandemic has led to more congestion outside local businesses and double parking in bus, bike, and vehicle travel lanes. This has led to more conflicts among pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles, which has increased the potential for serious injury. Boston Delivers aims to improve safety on our streets by reducing the size, speed, and environmental impacts of delivery vehicles.

The City will subsidize the delivery costs for up to eight businesses, making delivery costs more affordable for local businesses, with funds from Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s (MassCEC) Accelerating Clean Transportation for All (ACT4All) Program (funded by MassCEC and the Department of Energy Resources). This program will also help businesses provide a delivery service where they may not already offer one. Additionally, the city is contributing about $345,000 towards the pilot program. The majority of this is labor costs, along with outreach and translation services and equipment.

“Clean transportation is a significant part of the Commonwealth’s decarbonization strategies. Micromobility, such as e-bikes and e-scooters, is one focus of MassCEC’s transportation programming, which is aimed at supporting innovative clean transportation models,” said MassCEC CEO Jennifer Daloisio. “We are excited about Boston’s leadership in this area on the municipal level and the potential this pilot has to increase quality-of-life by decreasing emissions.”

“The Boston Delivers program will address two issues that we’re facing in Allston, pollution in the neighborhood and congestion on our streets,” said Alex Cornacchini, Executive Director of Allston Village Main Streets Association. “This service will provide some much needed relief on both fronts, all while helping out our local businesses community. We’re very fortunate that the BTD has chosen Allston as the pilot neighborhood for this initiative.”

“We would like to participate in the Boston Delivers pilot because it seems like an easy way to support cleaner air and job opportunities for those without a car,” said John Kim, owner of OliToki, a Korean fusion restaurant in Allston that will be participating in Boston Delivers. “Also, we see a lot of bike and e-bike deliveries in other major cities, and we feel that adding more ways to get food into people’s hands should ultimately benefit both restaurants and customers.”

While some businesses have already been selected, Boston Delivers is seeking more businesses in the Allston area to participate in the program. Those interested in participating in Boston Delivers can go to to fill out the interest form and learn more.

“As a business that makes and delivers nutritious, delicious, culturally appropriate meals throughout the City of Boston, we understand the congestion on Boston’s streets and recognize its negative impact on the residents of the City. And as a business that cares about climate protection, we are always looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Richard Caines III, Director, Sales and Marketing at City Fresh Foods. “The Boston Delivers pilot program is an innovative solution that will reduce congestion and improve service to our clients all while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Boston Delivers pilot gives companies like ours an opportunity to learn how e-bikes can be successfully integrated into business operations.”

This pilot program has several key learning objectives that will help pave the way for the operation of e-cargo bikes for delivery. These key learning objectives are:

  • Identify the policies, programs, and regulations that need to change to allow for e-cargo bike delivery in the City of Boston;
  • Test infrastructure changes needed to accommodate e-cargo bike delivery, including but not limited to e-cargo bike delivery zones, staging and sorting areas, parcel lockers, and other last-mile logistical needs;
  • Measure the benefits of e-cargo bike delivery, including its impact on environmental, safety, and economic metrics;
  • Understand the costs and feasibility of e-cargo bike delivery for different types of businesses;
  • Communicate to delivery service providers that the City of Boston is ready for delivery services to utilize e-cargo bikes.

“Through our farm share program, ABHC is really looking forward to partnering up with Boston Transportation Department’s Boston Delivers team as we intersect two key needs in our community: equitable access to food and transportation”, said Jessi Rubin, Allston Brighton CSA, organized by Allston-Brighton Health Collaborative, who is participating in Boston Delivers.

“The electric cargo bike pilot presents an important opportunity to both learn best practices regarding sustainable, environmentally friendly local deliveries, which has an exploding demand in both urban and suburban neighborhoods, while also reducing vehicle miles traveled by single-occupant vehicles – a key recommendation of MetroCommon 2050,” said Marah Holland, Senior Transportation Planner at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. “It’s the epitome of ‘smart growth,’ and we’re looking forward to opportunities to expand to other neighborhoods and municipalities across Greater Boston.”

Boston Delivers will serve as a case study for The Urban Freight Lab at The University of Washington to help inform worldwide efforts to encourage deliveries on e-cargo bikes. The Boston Transportation Department has partnered with Net Zero, a leading final mile logistics provider, to carry out the pilot. Net Zero will provide and manage the fleet of e-cargo bikes and related equipment, make the deliveries, and manage the logistics.

“About Fresh, via our Fresh Truck ECommerce program, is excited to partner with the City and Net Zero Logistics to take an innovative, environmentally friendly approach to door-to-door delivery,” said Seana Weaver, Fresh Truck Program Director, one of the businesses participating in Boston Delivers. “During the height of the pandemic, our Fresh Box program proved to be a necessary service in communities throughout Boston and we hear from our shoppers every day that they’d like to see it return. We are so grateful for this pilot opportunity to find a reasonable and sustainable method to get fresh produce to the households that need it most in Allston/Brighton.”

“I am passionate about reducing the carbon footprint and helping our environment to ensure a safe planet exists for all the generations to come,” said Mark Chiusano, CEO of Net Zero Logistics and affiliates. “As a company, we hope to make a difference by increasing awareness of carbonless deliveries and helping local businesses offer sustainable delivery options. We’ve been working hard finding solutions with executing the final 50 feet of urban delivery, and we are thrilled to implement our knowledge and expertise here in Massachusetts by partnering with The City of Boston and Boston Delivers.”