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Decarbonizing Delivery: Seattle Neighborhood Delivery Hub Lockers

Decarbonizing Delivery: Seattle Neighborhood Delivery Hub Lockers
Decarbonizing Delivery: Seattle Neighborhood Delivery Hub Lockers
March 15, 2023   //   

The Seattle Neighborhood Delivery Hub was a multi-faceted testbed for urban delivery solutions, located in Seattle’s dense Uptown neighbourhood near Seattle’s iconic Space Needle. One of the delivery technologies included in the Hub was a parcel locker bank.

The parcel locker was located at the Hub, where it was accessible 24/7. The Hub was located in an open, street-level car park, enabling easy access on foot, or by transit, bike or car.

“We had a locker at the hub that locals could use as a delivery point for their parcels,” explains Dr Anne Goodchild, Director of the Urban Freight Lab at the University of Washington. “We wanted to test a pickup point that was easy to use, that was accessible by any parcel carrier, as a solution to easing the area’s transport burden.”

The locker was carrier neutral. “Any carrier could deliver there: FedEx, UPS, and anyone who would deliver to the home,” says Dr Goodchild.

Users registered online for locker usage and then selected the parcel locker’s location for delivery when placing orders online as usual. When couriers delivered parcels directly into the lockers, the user would receive by email and SMS a notification containing a unique numerical code that they would then enter on the locker touchscreen to retrieve their package. Customers had seven days to collect their parcel from the locker.

There was no dedicated app for using the parcel lockers. Customers were notified via email and SMS.

The Urban Freight Lab has relationships with major carriers USPS, UPS, OnTrac, DHL, Amazon, and FedEx.

“There was one locker in what is a quite dense, walkable neighbourhood, so people could walk there to collect their parcels,” says Dr Goodchild.

This locker project was part of a three-year study focused on understanding and reducing congestion and emissions in cities. This project was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and was a collaboration between the City of Seattle, King County Metro, Sound Transit, CBRE, Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, and the City of Bellevue.

Further reading: Do Parcel Lockers Reduce Delivery Times? Evidence from the Field