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Seattle Neighborhood Delivery Hub – Routing Software

Seattle Neighborhood Delivery Hub – Routing Software
Seattle Neighborhood Delivery Hub – Routing Software
May 4, 2023   //   

The Seattle Neighborhood Delivery Hub was a multi-faceted testbed for urban delivery solutions, located in Seattle’s dense Uptown neighbourhood. It brought together various delivery technologies, including route optimisation tools.

During the short-term pilot, which ran for just under four months, a cargo bike was used for local last mile delivery.

“One of the areas the industry needs to develop in is the tools and technologies for a diverse fleet,” explains Dr Anne Goodchild, Director of the Urban Freight Lab at the University of Washington.

“Most carriers have relatively homogenous fleets for certain areas, for example a van or a box truck. This can be convenient when it comes to operations planning because the vehicles have similar characteristics.”

While cargo bikes have advantages over larger vehicles, such as being able to navigate narrow streets and being able to park in smaller spaces, they can’t deliver everything. There will be some packages that are too heavy, or too big. This means more complexity for routing software.

For example, if a cargo bike is able to navigate a pedestrianised street, then that rule needs to be programmed into the routing software. The gradient of streets might also need to be included.

Cargo bike specific routing tools that prioritise grade, bicycle infrastructure, and curb cuts would help drive maximum benefit from cargo bikes.

AxleHire, the delivery technology provider involved in the Seattle Neighborhood Delivery Hub, also shared GPS route data. This gave researchers a comprehensive understanding of delivery operations, including miles traveled, number of packages delivered, number of stops per route, infrastructure usage, speed, battery usage, as well as interaction with other vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians.