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Urban Freight Lab Kicks Off Work with Industry, City on Delivery Challenges

Urban Freight Lab Kicks Off Work with Industry, City on Delivery Challenges
Urban Freight Lab Kicks Off Work with Industry, City on Delivery Challenges
December 6, 2016   //   

December 12, 2016 — The Urban Freight Lab (UFL), part of the Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics Center, held its inaugural meeting today at the UW Seattle campus with City of Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) partners and founding industry members Costco Wholesale, Nordstrom, UPS, and USPS.

A “living laboratory,” the UFL’s initial research will focus on designing and testing solutions to optimize the “final 50 feet,” which is the challenging and expensive last leg of a delivery: beginning where a delivery driver leaves a truck or vehicle on a street, alley, or loading bay, extending through a privately owned building into a residential lobby or commercial area, and ending where the customer takes receipt of the parcel.

“The ‘final 50 feet’ highlights the challenge of coordinating across numerous, diverse stakeholders. It’s a problem that isn’t going to solve itself and no one can solve independently, said Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics Center Director Anne Goodchild.

“Seattle is a great location for this living laboratory because we have urban growth, geographic constraints and profound behavioral changes in the way people are buying things they need for daily life”

The issues and solutions the Urban Freight Lab and its industry members will investigate have benefits for both public and private sectors, and are applicable to other cities and growing urban areas worldwide trying to manage limited curb and parking spaces where delivery vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, and personal vehicles all need to coexist.

The UFL membership established two research project goals for its work:

  1. Reduce dwell time (the time a truck is parked)
  2. Reduce failed first deliveries

“The problems where we can be of most value occur where a private company has to use public space or share public space – they can’t control that,” said Goodchild.


About the Urban Freight Lab: An innovative public-private partnership housed at the Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics Center at the University of Washington, the Urban Freight Lab is a structured workgroup that brings together private industry with City transportation officials to design and test solutions around urban freight management.

About the Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics Center: The Supply Chain Transportation and Logistics Center at the University of Washington is the go-to place to analyze and solve urban goods delivery, sustainability, logistic hubs and ports, and freight system performance management problems that overlay private and public spaces and control. Our work integrates in-depth consultation with industry and the public sector, transformative research, and executive education, and serves the powerful nexus of industry, transportation infrastructure, and policymakers.