Skip to content

Analysis of a Food Bank Home Delivery Program

Food security, defined as access at all times to nutritious food, is a necessary condition for human beings to thrive and have an active and healthy life. In Seattle, about 13 percent of adults experienced food insecurity. Moreover, food security is not equitably distributed across the population. Food insecurity is more common in households with young children, with single parents, with incomes below 185 percent of the poverty threshold, in Black and Hispanic populations, and in principal metropolitan areas. Hunger relief organizations, such as food banks, play a key role in redistributing food to those experiencing food insecurity. However, a share of the food-insecure population could not be reached by this system. In particular, people who are immobile, immunocompromised, and elderly are not able to access the food bank network. The University District Food Bank, serving the northeast neighborhoods of Seattle, started a home delivery program 10 years ago, where volunteers pick up groceries at the food bank and deliver them to households in need, and largely expanded it during the pandemic. While volunteers were initially performing deliveries using cars or vans, the program was expanded through a collaboration with the Cascade Bicycle Club, a non-profit bike advocacy organization.

For this work, the project team proposes a collaboration between young junior scholars at the Urban Freight Lab (UFL) with expertise in the study of last-mile urban distribution systems, the University District Food Bank, and the Cascade Bicycle Club. This grant will enable UFL researchers to perform preliminary research, to better understand the challenges in the last-mile distribution of food from food banks and identify operational improvements to increase the efficiency of the system.

Project Team Members:

  • Giacomo Dalla Chiara (PI): Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Urban Freight Lab
  • Travis Fried (Collaborator): Research Assistant, Urban Freight Lab
  • Maxwell Burton (Collaborator): PRP & Volunteer Community Engagement Project Manager, Cascade Bicycle Club
  • Joe Gruber (Collaborator): Executive Director, University District Food Bank
Paper

Do Parcel Lockers Reduce Delivery Times? Evidence from the Field

 
Download PDF  (1.61 MB)
Publication: Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review
Volume: 172 (2023)
Publication Date: 2023
Summary:

Common carrier parcel lockers have emerged as a secure, automated, self-service means of delivery consolidation in congested urban areas, which are believed to mitigate last-mile delivery challenges by reducing out-of-vehicle delivery times and consequently vehicle dwell times at the curb. However, little research exists to empirically demonstrate the environmental and efficiency gains from this technology. In this study, we designed a nonequivalent group pre-test/post-test control experiment to estimate the causal effects of a parcel locker on delivery times in a residential building in downtown Seattle. The causal effects are measured in terms of vehicle dwell time and the time delivery couriers spend inside the building, through the difference-in-difference method and using a similar nearby residential building as a control. The results showed a statistically significant decrease in time spent inside the building and a small yet insignificant reduction in delivery vehicle dwell time at the curb. The locker was also well received by the building managers and residents.

Recommended Citation:
Ranjbari, A., Diehl, C., Dalla Chiara, G., & Goodchild, A. (2023). Do Commercial Vehicles Cruise for Parking? Empirical Evidence from Seattle. Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, 172, 103070. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tre.2023.103070 
Paper

Providing Curb Availability Information to Delivery Drivers Reduces Cruising for Parking

 
Download PDF  (2.03 MB)
Publication: Scientific Reports
Volume: (2022) 12:19355
Publication Date: 2022
Summary:

Delivery vehicle drivers are experiencing increasing challenges in finding available curb space to park in urban areas, which increases instances of cruising for parking and parking in unauthorized spaces. Policies traditionally used to reduce cruising for parking for passenger vehicles, such as parking fees and congestion pricing, are not effective at changing delivery drivers’ travel and parking behaviors.

Intelligent parking systems that use real-time curb availability information to better route and park vehicles can reduce cruising for parking, but they have never been tested for delivery vehicle drivers.

This study tested whether providing real-time curb availability information to delivery drivers reduces the travel time and distance spent cruising for parking. A curb parking information system deployed in a study area in Seattle, Wash., displayed real-time curb availabilities on a mobile app called OpenPark. A controlled experiment assigned drivers’ deliveries in the study area with and without access to OpenPark.

The data collected showed that when curb availability information was provided to drivers, their cruising for parking time significantly decreased by 27.9 percent, and their cruising distance decreased by 12.4 percent. These results demonstrate the potential for implementing intelligent parking systems to improve the efficiency of urban logistics systems.

Recommended Citation:
Dalla Chiara, G., Krutein, K.F., Ranjbari, A. et al. Providing curb availability information to delivery drivers reduces cruising for parking. Sci Rep 12, 19355 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-23987-z
Student Thesis and Dissertations

Micro-Consolidation Practices in Urban Delivery Systems: Comparative Evaluation of Last Mile Deliveries Using e-Cargo Bikes and Microhubs

 
Download PDF  (1.79 MB)
Publication Date: 2021
Summary:

The demand for home deliveries has seen a drastic increase, especially in cities, putting urban freight systems under pressure. As more people move to urban areas and change consumer behaviors to shop online, busy delivery operations cause externalities such as congestion and air pollution.

Micro-consolidation implementations and their possible pairing with soft transportation modes offer practical, economic, environmental, and cultural benefits. Early implementations of micro-consolidation practices were tested but cities need to understand their implications in terms of efficiency and sustainability.

This study includes a research scan and proposes a typology of micro-consolidation practices. It focuses on assessing the performance of microhubs that act as additional transshipment points where the packages are transported by trucks and transferred onto e-bikes to complete the last mile.

The purpose of the study is to assess the performance of delivery operations using a network of microhubs with cargo logistics and identify the conditions under which these solutions can be successfully implemented to improve urban freight efficiencies and reduce emissions. The performance is evaluated in terms of vehicle miles traveled, tailpipe CO2 emissions, and average operating cost per package using simulation tools. Three different delivery scenarios were tested that represents 1) the baseline scenario, where only vans and cars make deliveries; 2) the mixed scenario, where in addition to vans and cars, a portion of packages are delivered by e-bikes; and 3) the e-bike only scenario, where all package demand is satisfied using microhubs and e-bikes.

The results showed that e-bike delivery operations perform the best in service areas with high customer density. At the highest customer demand level, e-bikes traveled 7.7% less to deliver a package and emitted 91% less tailpipe CO2 with no significant cost benefits or losses when compared with the baseline scenario where only traditional delivery vehicles were used. Cargo logistics, when implemented in areas where the demand is densified, can reduce emissions and congestion without significant cost implications.

Authors: Şeyma Güneş
Recommended Citation:
Gunes, S. (2021). Micro-Consolidation Practices in Urban Delivery Systems: Comparative Evaluation of Last Mile Deliveries Using e-Cargo Bikes and Microhubs, University of Washington Master's Thesis.
Paper

Curbspace Management Challenges and Opportunities from Public and Private Sector Perspectives

 
Download PDF  (1.28 MB)
Publication: Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board
Publication Date: 2021
Summary:

Through structured interviews with public agency and private company staff and a review of existing pilot project evaluations and curb management guidelines, this study surveys contemporary approaches to curb space management in 14 U.S. cities and documents the challenges and opportunities associated with them. A total of 17 public agencies (including public works departments, transportation agencies, and metropolitan planning organizations) in every census region of the U.S. and 10 technology companies were interviewed.

The results show that the top curb management concerns among public officials are enforcement and communication, data collection and management, and interagency coordination. Interviewees reported success with policies such as allocating zones for passenger pick-ups and drop-offs, incentives for off-peak delivery, and requiring data sharing in exchange for reservable or additional curb spaces. Technology company representatives discussed new tools and technologies for curb management, including smart parking reservation systems, occupancy sensors and cameras, and automated enforcement. Both public and private sector staff expressed a desire for citywide policy goals around curb management, more consistent curb regulations across jurisdictions, and a common data standard for encoding curb information.

Recommended Citation:
Diehl, C., Ranjbari, A., & Goodchild, A. (2021). Curbspace Management Challenges and Opportunities from Public and Private Sector Perspectives. Transportation Research Record. https://doi.org/10.1177/03611981211027156
Paper

A Mobile Application for Collecting Task Time Data for Value Stream Mapping of the Final 50 Feet of Urban Goods Delivery Processes

 
Download PDF  (5.65 MB)
Publication: Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting
Volume: 62
Pages: 1808-1812
Publication Date: 2018
Summary:

Delivery options have become very diverse with online shoppers demanding faster delivery options (e.g, 2-day delivery, same day delivery options) and more personalized services. For this reason, transportation planners, retailers, and delivery companies are seeking ways to better understand how best to deliver goods and services in urban areas while minimizing disruption to traffic, parking, and building operations. This includes understanding vertical and horizontal goods movements within urban areas.

The goal of this project is to capture the delivery processes within urban buildings in order to minimize these disruptions. This is achieved using a systems approach to understanding the flow of activities and workers as they deliver goods within urban buildings. A mobile application was designed to collect the start and stop times for each task within the delivery process for 31 carriers as they deliver goods within a 62-story office building.

The process flow map helped identify bottlenecks and areas for improvements in the final segment of the delivery operations: the final 50 feet. It also highlighted consistent tasks conducted by all carriers as well as differences with given carrier type. This information is useful to help decision-makers plan appropriately for the design of future cities that encompass a variety of delivery processes.

Authors: Haena KimDr. Anne Goodchild, Linda Ng Boyle
Recommended Citation:
Kim, Haena, Linda Ng Boyle, and Anne Goodchild. (2018) "A Mobile Application for Collecting Task Time Data for Value Stream Mapping of the Final 50 Feet of Urban Goods Delivery Processes." In Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, 62(1), 1808–1812. https://doi.org/10.1177/1541931218621410
Paper

Delivery Process for an Office Building in the Seattle Central Business District

 
Download PDF  (1.43 MB)
Publication: Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board
Volume: Transportation Research Board 97th Annual Meeting
Publication Date: 2018
Summary:

Movement of goods within a central business district (CBD) can be very constraining with high levels of congestion and insufficient curb spaces. Pick-up and delivery activities encompass a significant portion of urban goods movement and inefficient operations can negatively impact the already highly congested areas and truck dwell times. Identifying and quantifying the delivery processes within the building is often difficult.

This paper introduces a systematic approach to examine freight movement, using a process flow map with quantitative delivery times measured during the final segment of the delivery process. This paper focuses on vertical movements such as unloading/loading activities, taking freight elevators, and performing pick-up/delivery operations. This approach allows us to visualize the components of the delivery process and identify the processes that consume the most time and greatest variability. Using this method, the authors observed the delivery process flows of an office building in downtown Seattle, grouped into three major steps: 1. Entering, 2. Delivering, 3. Exiting. This visualization tool provides researchers and planners with a better understanding of the current practices in the urban freight system and helps identify the non-value-added activities and time that can unnecessarily increase the overall delivery time.

Authors: Haena KimDr. Anne Goodchild, Linda Ng Boyle
Recommended Citation:
Kim, Haena, Linda Ng Boyle, and Anne Goodchild. "Delivery Process for an Office Building in the Seattle Central Business District." Transportation Research Record 2672, no. 9 (2018): 173-183. 
Paper

Delivery by Drone: An Evaluation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Technology in Reducing CO2 Emissions in the Delivery Service Industry

 
Download PDF  (2.33 MB)
Publication: Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment
Volume: 61
Pages: 58-67
Publication Date: 2018
Summary:

This research paper estimates carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) levels of two delivery models, one by trucks and the other by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or “drones.”

Using several ArcGIS tools and emission standards within a framework of logistical and operational assumptions, it has been found that emission results vary greatly and are highly dependent on the energy requirements of the drone, as well as the distance it must travel and the number of recipients it serves.

Still, general conditions are identified under which drones are likely to provide a CO2 benefit – when service zones are close to the depot, have small numbers of stops, or both. Additionally, measures of VMT for both modes were found to be relatively consistent with existing literature that compares traditional passenger travel with truck delivery.

Authors: Dr. Anne Goodchild, Jordan Toy
Recommended Citation:
Goodchild, Anne, and Jordan Toy. "Delivery by Drone: An Evaluation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Technology in Reducing CO2 Emissions in the Delivery Service Industry" Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment 61 (2018): 58-67.