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Do Parcel Lockers Reduce Delivery Times? New Urban Freight Lab Paper Says Yes

Do Parcel Lockers Reduce Delivery Times? New Urban Freight Lab Paper Says Yes
Do Parcel Lockers Reduce Delivery Times? New Urban Freight Lab Paper Says Yes
March 17, 2023   //   

March 17, 2023 — New Urban Freight Lab paper “Do Parcel Lockers Reduce Delivery Times? Evidence from the Field” published in Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review shows that using lockers for parcel delivery can decrease in-building delivery time by a significant 50-60%.

Common-carrier automated parcel lockers have emerged as a secure, automated self-service means of delivery consolidation in congested urban areas — believed to mitigate last-mile delivery challenges by reducing out-of-vehicle delivery times and consequently vehicle dwell times at the curb, and lowering costs for delivery firms, reducing delivery vehicle-miles traveled (VMT), and decreasing traffic congestion and emissions.

While the World Economic Forum estimates that parcel lockers could reduce global delivery costs by 2-12% and emissions by 5-18%, there hadn’t been an empirical analysis of impacts of parcel lockers on delivery times or traffic congestion.

This study fills that gap. Researchers Andisheh Ranjbari, Caleb Diehl, Giacomo Dalla Chiara, Anne Goodchild collected and analyzed delivery data in two multi-story residential buildings in downtown Seattle — one with a parcel locker and one without — and quantifying the impact on delivery times.

Key findings of the study:

  • 50-60% reduction in the average time spent inside the building using parcel lockers
  • 33% reduction in average delivery dwell time at nearby loading zones (although not statistically significant, as couriers often deliver to multiple buildings from one parking stop)
  • 90% reduction in workload by resident management (time that would have been used to pick up packages and deliver them to resident doorsteps), and
  • 96% of residents reported satisfaction with parcel locker usage and an improved ecommerce experience with much fewer missed or stolen deliveries.

Research Project:
Technology Integration to Gain Commercial Efficiency for the Urban Goods Delivery System, Meet Future Demand for City Passenger and Delivery Load/Unload Spaces, and Reduce Energy Consumption