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The Future of Delivery: Urban Freight in 2030

Publication: Goods Movement 2030: An Urban Freight Blog
Publication Date: 2023
Summary:

We have digitization to thank for today’s urban freight landscape. Digitization has long been the backbone of things we now take for granted — from TNCs (Transportation Network Companies) Uber and Lyft to online shopping and the complex supply chain needed to make that ecommerce happen. Digitization is what gives ecommerce’s biggest player — Amazon — visibility into its packages and enables it to deliver faster and more reliably than ever. So digitalization isn’t new. But it continues to spur new developments.

But what does digitization even mean in urban freight?

In this blog, we think about three buckets under the broad umbrella. Though all three can — and do — interconnect, the first two center on the public sector and the third on the private sector.

Recommended Citation:
"The Future of Delivery: Urban Freight in 2030" Goods Movement 2030 (blog). Urban Freight Lab, January 27, 2023. https://www.goodsmovement2030.com/post/the-future-of-delivery-urban-freight-in-2030.
Report

Evaluation of Sound Transit Train Stations and Transit-Oriented Development Areas for Common Carrier Locker Systems (Executive Summary)

 
Download PDF  (1.66 MB)
Publication Date: 2018
Summary:

The rapid expansion of ecommerce has flooded American cities with delivery trucks, just as those cities are experiencing booming population growth. Retailers need a more efficient, reliable, and cost-effective way to deliver goods in increasingly crowded urban environments. For their part, cities like Seattle want to minimize traffic congestion, both sustain quality of life for residents and ensure a smooth flow of goods and services.

Common carrier parcel lockers hold tremendous potential for streamlining the urban goods delivery system and addressing these challenges. This research study explores the viability of providing public right of way for common carrier lockers at or near transit stations in Seattle, a ground-breaking step toward improving freight delivery in the city’s fast-growing urban core.

Recommended Citation:
Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics Center. (2018) Evaluation of Sound Transit Train Stations and Transit Oriented Development Areas for Common Carrier Locker Systems (Executive Summary)
Article

The Freight of the West

 
Download PDF  (0.64 MB)
Publication: Thinking Cities
Volume: December 2017
Pages: 82-85
Publication Date: 2017
Summary:

More than 80 percent of Americans have purchased goods online and, in 2016, more than 8 percent of all retail sales in the U.S. took place online. The growth of ecommerce is putting increasing pressure on local governments to rethink how they manage street curb parking and alley operations for trucks and other delivery vehicles. It is also forcing building developers and managers to plan for the influx of online goods.

To develop practical solutions to these problems, in 2016 the University of Washington launched the Urban Freight Lab (UFL), a partnership between private and public industry stakeholders. The UFL provides a place for companies and public agencies to work together to develop and ground-test low-cost, promising solutions to deliver these goods while maintaining livability and economic vitality.

As part of this research effort, a three-year strategic research partnership with the City of Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has been established to advance understanding of urban goods movement in support of the City’s goals for safe, predictable and efficient goods movement and economic vibrancy.

By entering into a long-term strategic partnership with the university and industry, SDOT demonstrated its interest in developing innovative solutions to achieve their policy goals. The city’s willingness to pilot test and potentially adopt solutions that provided both public and private good was essential in attracting private sector firms to engage fully in the work.

The Urban Freight Lab

In 2016, the Urban Freight Lab recruited founding industry members from Charlie’s Produce, Costco Wholesale, Nordstrom, UPS, and the United States Postal Service (USPS) to develop solutions to improve the way goods are delivered in the urban environment.

Private sector members of the Urban Freight Lab at the University of Washington, in partnership with SDOT, are using a systems engineering approach to solve delivery problems that overlap the spheres of control of the city and business sector.

The Lab has created a multi-year strategic research plan with principles and innovative approaches to produce evidence-based improvement strategies.

The role of the Urban Freight Lab is to be a living laboratory where potential solutions are generated, evaluated, and then pilot-tested on real city streets. Members provide clear and open input as to whether proposed solutions are sustainable in their and other firms’ business models.

The Final 50 Feet

The Urban Freight Lab and its members have defined and focused on the Final 50 Feet; the urban supply chain segment that begins where delivery vehicles park at the curb, alley or in a building’s freight parking space. It tracks the delivery process inside buildings and ends at the receipt of goods by the receiver. The Final 50 Feet concept represents the first time that the Lab have identified the importance of analyzing deliveries moving along the street grid and in cities’ vertical space (office, hotel, retail and residential towers) as a unified goods delivery system.

Development of the Final 50 Feet concept is the necessary first step in defining rigorous, goal-oriented improvement teams that can take coordinated action to reduce truck trips, delivery delays, cost, emissions, and improve delivery service to tenants and consumers. It provides them with the ability to analyze and improve the process flows meaningfully from the beginning-to-end of the last piece of the urban goods system.

The Urban Freight Lab members and SDOT have identified two priority goals, with both public and private benefits, for the 2017-2020 research partnership:

  1. Reduce the number of failed first delivery attempts. The failed first delivery can be as high as 15 percent. Benefits of reducing failed first deliveries include:
    • Improve urban online shoppers’ experiences and protect retailers’ brands;
    • Cut business costs for the retail sector and logistics firms;
    • Lower traffic congestion in cities, as delivery trucks could make up to 15 percent fewer trips while still completing the same number of deliveries.
  2. Reduce dwell time. The time a truck is parked in a load/ unload space. There are both public and private benefits to reaching this goal, including:
    • Lower costs for delivery firms, and therefore potentially lower costs for their customers;
    • Better utilization of public and private truck load/unload spaces;
    • Less congestion, as spaces turn over more quickly.

Overview of the Innovative Approaches Taken to Identify and Quantitatively Assess the Final 50 Feet of the Urban Goods Delivery System

Building the first comprehensive database of urban off-street infrastructure for delivery and pick-up operations

The urban goods delivery system includes both public and private facilities. While on-street parking facilities are well documented in Seattle’s databases, facilities out of the public right of way (i.e. privately held) are not. SCTL research assistants, developed a ground-truthed data collection method to build a comprehensive database inventory, capturing geospatial locations and documenting the visible features of all private freight parking infrastructure in five urban centers in the Seattle area.

For this task, the team collaborated with one of the private carrier members of the Urban Freight Lab to further improve the accuracy of the data collection method. Carrier drivers with deep knowledge of city routes and infrastructure, review the closed door locations.

This review allowed the Lab to rule out 98 percent (206) of the locations behind closed doors, reducing uncertainty in the final database from 38 percent to less than 1 percent.

Researchers found that 87 percent of buildings in the City’s dense urban centers are completely reliant on nearby public commercial vehicle load zones (CVLZs) and alley truck load/unload spaces to receive goods deliveries. These buildings do not have underground or adjacent freight bays on their property.

Building a delivery process flow for delivery inside the building environment

The Lab created detailed process flow maps of the Final 50’ in and around five prototype city buildings in Seattle, Washington.

The team collected original data by following delivery persons from the buildings’ freight bays or nearby commercial vehicle zones (CVLZs) into each of the buildings, until delivery was completed or the return to the truck when there was a failed delivery. The Lab designed and built an application for collectors to enter the precise time that the delivery people began and ended each process step. The team then collected data for up to a week in peak delivery periods for each building. They analyzed the range and average of delay in the process steps to understand where improvement strategies will have the most significant ability to achieve project goals (13). Based on this analysis, the Lab found that the greatest opportunities to reduce the number of failed first deliveries and dwell time in truck load/unload spaces are inside buildings when delivery persons:

  • Interact with security personnel; and
  • Attempt to locate tenants.

In the next phase of the Final 50 Feet project, the Urban Freight Lab and SDOT will pilot test promising improvement strategies in and on the streets around the Seattle Municipal Tower over four weeks.

Benefits

Final 50’ project findings will be used to provide decision support to city officials and private-sector firms managing scarce resources. By applying systems engineering and evidence-based planning, we can make receiving online goods as efficient as ordering them – without clogging city streets and curb space.

We have received requests from many other cities, including Washington, D.C., to share results and lessons learned during the Freight Master Plan development process and early actions coming out of this three-year program. Seattle is committed to being a leader in urban goods policy and problem-solving and keeping our economy thriving.

According to City of Seattle officials Mr. Christopher Eaves and Ms. Jude Willcher, “Seattle is one fastest growing cities in the country. The Seattle Department of Transportation is committed meeting the urban goods delivery challenges facing most big cities in the U.S. We know that issuing parking tickets to companies who are simply trying to meet the daily delivery needs of residents and businesses isn’t the right solution. So, our goal is to identify and implement scalable strategies that improve deliveries at existing building, as well as initiate strategic research to mine new data to improve and inform new construction designs that support freight and delivery in the city. And we are incredibly grateful to have found a strong and innovative partner in the UW Freight Lab and SCTL”.

Recommended Citation:
Urban Freight Lab. “The freight of the West” Thinking Cities Magazine, December 2017, 82-85
Article

More Online Shopping Means More Delivery Trucks. Are Cities Ready?

 
Download PDF  (2.46 MB)
Publication: The Conversation
Publication Date: 2016
Summary:

Two converging trends — the rise of e-commerce and urban population growth — are creating big challenges for cities. Online shoppers are learning to expect the urban freight delivery system to bring them whatever they want, wherever they want it, within one to two hours. That’s especially true during the holidays, as shipping companies hustle to deliver gift orders on time.

City managers and policymakers were already grappling with high demand and competing uses for scarce road, curb, and sidewalk space. If cities do not act quickly to revamp the way they manage increasing numbers of commercial vehicles unloading goods in streets and alleys and into buildings, they will drown in a sea of double-parked trucks.

The University of Washington has formed a new Urban Freight Lab to solve delivery system problems that cities and the business sector cannot handle on their own. Funders of this long-term strategic research partnership include the City of Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and five founding corporate members: Costco, FedEx, Nordstrom, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service.

The core problem facing cities is that they are trying to manage their part of a sophisticated data-powered 21st-century delivery system with tools designed for the 1800s — and they are often trying to do it alone. Consumers can order groceries, clothes, and electronics with a click, but most cities only have a stripe of colored paint to manage truck parking at the curb. The Urban Freight Lab brings building managers, retailers, logistics and tech firms, and city government together to do applied research and develop advanced solutions.

Moving more goods, more quickly

We have reached the point where millions of people who live and work in cities purchase more than half of their goods online. This trend is putting tremendous pressure on local governments to rethink how they manage street curb parking and alley operations for trucks and other delivery vehicles. It also forces building operators to plan for the influx of online goods. A few years ago, building concierges may have received a few flower bouquets. Now many are sorting and storing groceries and other goods for hundreds of residents every week.

In the first quarter of 2016, almost 8 percent of total U.S. retail sales took place online. Surging growth in U.S. online sales has averaged more than 15 percent year-over-year since 2010. Black Friday web sales soared by 22 percent from 2015 to 2016.

Online shoppers’ expectations for service are also rising. Two out of three shoppers expect to be able to place an order as late as 5:00 p.m. for next-day delivery. Three out of five believe orders placed by noon should be delivered the same day, and one out of four believe orders placed by 4:00 p.m. or later should still be delivered on the same day.

City living and shopping is still all about location, location, location. People are attracted to urban neighborhoods because they prefer to walk more and drive less. Respondents in the 2015 National Multifamily Housing Council-Kingsley Apartment Resident Preferences Survey preferred walking to grocery stores and restaurants rather than driving by seven points. But this lifestyle requires merchants to deliver goods to customers’ homes, office buildings or stores close to where they live.

Smarter delivery systems

SDOT recently published Seattle’s first draft Freight Master Plan, which includes high-level strategies to improve the urban goods delivery system. But before city managers act, they need evidence to prove which concepts will deliver results.

To lay the groundwork for our research, an SCTL team led by Dr. Ed McCormack and graduate students Jose Machado Leon and Gabriela Giron surveyed 523 blocks of Seattle’s downtown (including Belltown, the commercial core, Pioneer Square and International District), South Lake Union and Uptown urban centers in the fall of 2016. They compiled GIS coordinates and infrastructure characteristics for all observable freight loading bays within buildings. Our next step is to combine this information with existing GIS layers of the city’s curbside commercial vehicle load zones and alleys to produce a complete map of Seattle’s urban delivery infrastructure.

In our first research project, the Urban Freight Lab is using data-based process improvement tools to purposefully manage both public and private operations of the Final-50-Feet space. The final 50 feet of the urban delivery system begins when a truck stops at a city-owned curb, commercial vehicle load zone or alley. It extends along sidewalks and through privately owned building freight bays, and may end in common areas within a building, such as the lobby.

One key issue is failed deliveries: Some city residents don’t receive their parcels due to theft or because they weren’t home to accept them. Could there be secure, common drop-off points for multiple carriers to use, attached to bus stops or on the sidewalk?

The most pressing issue is the lack of space for trucks to park and deliver goods downtown. It may be possible to use technology to get more use out of existing commercial vehicle load zones. For example, trucks might be able to use spaces now reserved exclusively for other uses during off-peak hours or seasons.

To analyze the fundamental problems in the urban logistics system, our research team will create process flow maps of each step in the goods delivery process for five buildings in Seattle. We will collect data and build a model to analyze “what if” scenarios for one location. Then we will pilot test several promising low-cost, high-value actions on Seattle streets in the fall of 2017. The pilots may involve actively managing city load zones and alleys to maximize truck use, or changing the way people use freight elevators.

By using information technologies and creative planning, we can make receiving online goods as efficient as ordering them — without clogging our streets or losing our packages.

Recommended Citation:
Goodchild, A., & Ivanov, B. (2016, December 20). More online shopping means more delivery trucks. Are cities ready? The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/more-online-shopping-means-more-delivery-trucks-are-cities-ready-67686.
Article

Where’s My Package? Common Carrier Freight Lockers Can Ease City Traffic and Prevent Failed Deliveries

Publication: The Conversation
Publication Date: 2018
Summary:

Online shopping is a big convenience for many Americans, but porch piracy can ruin the experience. For example, Mikaela Gilbert lived in a row house in West Philadelphia while she studied systems engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. By her junior year, Gilbert had lost enough packages to thieves that she devised an elaborate three-pronged security strategy.

Her first line of defense was having online purchases shipped to a friend who lived in a high-rise apartment where a doorman secured incoming packages. She also sent orders to her parents’ house in New Jersey when she had a visit home planned. But both of those options were hugely inconvenient, so sometimes she routed deliveries to her place after texting her seven housemates to be on the lookout.

When Amazon installed branded delivery lockers near the center of campus, Gilbert began receiving packages there, which was less stressful than managing a small army of collaborators. But it limited her shopping to just one retailer. When Amazon didn’t have something she wanted, she had to fall back on her circle of friends.

Retailers delivering to a customers’ homes also want to avoid these situations. Research at our lab has identified a promising alternative: publicly accessible common carrier freight lockers where all retailers can leave packages for pickup.

So many stops, so little time
Like Amazon’s branded lockers, common carrier lockers are automated, self-service storage units that provide a secure location for customers to receive online purchases. However, any retailer or delivery firm can access them. Some private buildings have such lockers now, but those are only open to residents. Our study examined the effectiveness of locating them in public spaces in dense urban areas, where they can be available to everyone.

The University of Washington’s Urban Freight Lab is a structured research work group composed of leading retail, logistics and delivery firms. We partner with the Seattle Department of Transportation, collect and analyze data, and run pilot tests of promising solutions in Seattle’s Center City area. Our focus is on solving urban delivery issues in an age when e-commerce is exploding, city populations are expanding, and gridlock is reaching epic levels.

In its first report, published in early 2018, the Lab analyzed the “Final 50 Feet” of the urban goods delivery system – the last leg of the supply chain. It begins when trucks pull into a parking space and stop moving, whether at the curb, in an alley, or at a building’s loading dock or internal freight bay. From there, it follows delivery people inside urban towers, ending where customers receive their packages.

Researchers discovered two especially thorny challenges in this segment of the chain: extended “dwell time,” when trucks are parked in load/unload spaces too long, and failed first delivery attempts due to causes that include porch piracy. Solving these puzzles could reduce delivery costs, traffic congestion and crime rates, and improve online shoppers’ experiences.

Delivering packages one at a time to individual homes or offices is time-consuming and requires driving to multiple locations and parking in multiple spaces. It also results in failed first delivery rates of up to 15 percent in parts of some cities, according to some of our lab’s member companies. Instead, we decided to try creating delivery density in a single location right where the trucks unloaded.

Centralized lockers where people live and work
Accordingly, the Urban Freight Lab’s second research project pilot-tested placing a common carrier locker system in the 62-floor Seattle Municipal Tower in downtown Seattle’s financial district. This step cut the time required to make deliveries in the tower by 78 percent. The next question was where to locate more of these delivery density points, or “mini-distribution nodes,” as the study called them.

Amazon, which is headquartered in Seattle, had already approached regional transportation agency Sound Transit about locating its branded lockers at the agency’s Link light rail stations. But public stewards of the property – the Seattle Department of Transportation, Sound Transit and King County Metro – did not want to advantage one carrier or retailer over others. Instead, we suggested locating common carrier lockers.

The transit agencies saw that this could reduce delivery truck traffic in neighborhoods they served, easing congestion and reducing vehicle emissions. And their mobility hub policies aimed to create lively public spaces that offered not only multiple transportation modes but lots of convenient amenities.

In a survey of 185 riders at three transit stations, our lab’s third research study found strong interest in the lockers, with up to 67 percent of respondents at each station willing to use them and the vast majority willing to carry a package three to six blocks to do so. These responses, plus the fact that some 137,000 people lived within a 30-minute walk of the three stations, suggested that tens of thousands of Seattle residents would be willing to use common carrier lockers at those stations.

For retailers like Nordstrom, the lockers represent a potential solution to porch piracy and other glitches associated with online shopping. “Rather than leaving the package at a door, some carriers want customers to come to their location to collect the package, while others might redeliver,” Loren VandenBerghe, director of transportation for Nordstrom, told us. “Whatever the process, the customer has to track down the package. Instead, we’d prefer to get the package in our customer’s hands when they expect it.”

Researchers have developed criteria for selecting locker locations and chosen five possible sites at or near the transit stations for pilot testing. We have received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to expand use of common carriers lockers in public spaces to a larger area in Seattle’s dense urban core and start actively managing the load/unload space network with new technology. Delivery drivers will be able to pull right up to lockers and unload goods, and riders can pick up their packages when they hop on or off a bus – making it much more convenient than waiting for a truck and scanning the street for porch pirates.

Recommended Citation:
Goodchild, A. (2018, December 18). Where’s my package? Common carrier freight lockers can ease city traffic and prevent failed deliveries. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/wheres-my-package-common-carrier-freight-lockers-can-ease-city-traffic-and-prevent-failed-deliveries-108455
Report

The Final 50 Feet of the Urban Goods Delivery System (Final Report)

 
Download PDF  (6.73 MB)
Publication Date: 2018
Summary:

Urban Freight Lab’s foundational report is the first assessment in any American city of the privately-owned and operated elements of the Final 50 Feet of goods delivery supply chains (the end of the supply chain, where delivery drivers must locate both parking and end customers). These include curb parking spaces, private truck freight bays and loading docks, street design, traffic control, and delivery policies and operations within buildings.

Goods delivery is an essential but little-noticed activity in urban areas. For the last 40 years, deliveries have been mostly performed by a private sector shipping industry that operates within general city traffic conditions. However, in recent years e-commerce has created a rapid increase in deliveries, which implies an explosion of activity in the future.

Meeting current and future demand is creating unprecedented challenges for shippers to meet both increased volumes and increasing customer expectations for efficient and timely delivery. Anecdotal evidence suggests that increasing demand is overwhelming goods delivery infrastructure and operations. Delivery vehicles parked in travel lanes, unloading taking place on crowded sidewalks, and commercial truck noise during late night and early morning hours are familiar stories in urban areas.

These conditions are noticeable throughout the City of Seattle as our population and employment rapidly increase. However, goods delivery issues are particularly problematic in Seattle’s high-density areas of Downtown, Belltown, South Lake Union, Pioneer Square, First Hill, Capitol Hill and Queen Anne, described as Seattle’s “Center City”. Urban goods transportation makes our economy and quality of life possible.

As the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) responds to the many travel challenges of a complex urban environment, we recognize that goods delivery needs to be better understood and supported to retain the vitality and livability of our busiest neighborhoods.

U.S. cities do not have much information about the urban goods delivery system. While public agencies have data on city streets, public transportation and designated curbside parking, the “final 50 feet” in goods delivery also utilizes private vehicles, private loading facilities, and privately-owned and operated buildings outside the traditional realm of urban planning.

Bridging the information gap between the public and private sectors requires a new way of thinking about urban systems. Specifically, it requires trusted data sharing between public and private partners, and a data-driven approach to asking and answering the right questions, to successfully meet modern urban goods delivery needs.

The Urban Freight Lab (UFL) provides a standing forum to solve a range of short-term as well as long-term strategic urban goods problem solving, that provides evidence of effectiveness before strategies are widely implemented in the City.

Recommended Citation:
Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics Center. (2018) The Final 50 Feet of the Urban Goods Delivery System.

Last-Mile Freight Curb Access: Digitizing the Last Mile of Urban Goods to Improve Curb Access and Use

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) awarded a $2 million grant under its SMART (Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation) grant program to support the development of the Last-Mile Freight Curb Access Program: Digitizing the Last Mile of Urban Goods to Improve Curb Access and Utilization, a collaboration between the Urban Freight Lab, Seattle Department of Transportation, and Open Mobility Foundation. This project will develop sensor-based technology solutions that address to transportation problems, enabling commercial vehicles to make faster, safer, and more efficient deliveries with reduced vehicle emissions.

The Last Mile Freight Curb Access Program focuses on providing commercial vehicle drivers with real-time information to park legally and expedite deliveries. Research from a 2019 Urban Freight Lab study showed that more than 40% of commercial vehicles in downtown Seattle park in unauthorized locations. Another study showed that equipping commercial vehicles with real-time parking availability and load zone information could reduce their “cruising” time by nearly 30%. The project aims to make information about curbside regulations digitized and more accessible to commercial drivers, and leverage this data to improve regulations.

Other cities including Portland, San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and Miami-Dade County have also received SMART grants to implement similar technology-based solutions for improving curb access.

Background

Since 2010, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has been a national leader in data-driven curbside management by using parking occupancy data to set on-street parking rates. We proposed to extend our data-driven pricing and curb literacy to a new use: designated commercial vehicle load zones (CVLZ) and the commercial vehicle permit (CVP). Our plan is to establish new CVP policies in close collaboration with urban freight companies, adjacent businesses, and other critical stakeholders; implement a digital CVP built on the Curb Data Specification (CDS) that enables capture of curb utilization measurements and communicates demand management policies; and transform our legacy digital curb inventory to the national CDS standard.

Strategies

To address these challenges, SDOT proposes a SMART project that will use a combination of digital technologies coupled with targeted outreach. This approach will be implemented through three key strategies:

  1. Engage with local businesses and urban freight companies to understand challenges and build a foundation of trust SDOT will engage with a variety of stakeholders including local neighborhood businesses, commercial vehicle users from large carriers, and commercial vehicle permit (CVP) holders from small and local businesses. The goal is to build trust and work collaboratively with our users to modernize and improve our existing CVP to create a system that works for urban freight companies, local businesses, and benefits the community at large.
  2. Prototype a digital CVP and use findings to modernize and scale the system SDOT will conduct a vendor procurement to prototype and assess a wireless vehicle-to-curb infrastructure (V2I) communication system, built on top of the Curb Data Specification (CDS) standard as a new way to manage our CVP. Data collected through this prototype will be leveraged by the UFL to conduct research to develop standardized data collection efforts for commercial curb use and create new data-driven policy and permit recommendations.
  3. Collaborate with a national cohort of cities implementing the Curb Data Specification SDOT will partner with the Open Mobility Foundation (OMF) and collaborate with a national cohort of OMF member cities to support the shared objectives in how CDS can help cities and companies pilot and scale dynamic curb use. SDOT will share lessons from Stage 1 prototyping with OMF cohort cities to strengthen all CDS-related SMART grant projects and better position proven technologies to be implemented at scale for a Stage 2 project. SDOT is uniquely positioned to deliver a successful Stage 1 project focusing on commercial vehicle curb access and utilization given our existing CVP and leadership in data driven curbside management. Specifically, this project will directly address the SMART goals of equity and access, partnerships, and integration and build the foundation for dramatic improvements in safety, reliability, and climate in Stage 2. Our goal is that the Stage 1 learnings will allow us to scale a digital CVP for citywide adoption in Stage 2, thus promoting interoperability of technology solutions to improve curb access for commercial curb users citywide. Our approach centers on stakeholder and community partnerships, data-driven assessment, and technical capacity-building. Potential outcomes for testing and implementation in Stage 2 include updated policies or curb allocations that might address inequities through deeper understanding of the variety of commercial users of the curb, reduced carbon emissions by creating or incenting CV zero emission zones, and decreased impacts to vulnerable road users through optimized curb allocation.

Objectives

The expected benefits of Stage 1 will be threefold:

    1. Rigorously assess the piloted technology system to understand its scaling potential: The project will develop a technology assessment methodology that will look critically at accuracy and data use model development. This assessment will be transparent and developed in collaboration with OMF cohort cities to ensure solutions are scalable while meeting the core needs of Seattle’s digital CVP.
    2. Create a CDS framework for standardizing data collection efforts of commercial curb space: SDOT will share lessons learned from Stage 1 prototyping and policy recommendations with OMF cohort cities to collectively strengthen all CDS-related SMART grant projects and better position proven technologies to be implemented at scale.
    3. Create new data-driven commercial vehicle policy and permit recommendations to be enacted during Stage 2 of this grant

The recommendations will be informed by data models created by the UFL using utilization data from the project overlayed with characteristics of adjacent urban form and land use. These models will help SDOT identify areas for adjustments to existing curb allocation as well as establish a deeper understanding of the variety of commercial vehicle user behavior at the curb to meet climate goals. We anticipate these policies will benefit both curb users and local community members by reducing congestion and creating safer streets.

Biking the Goods: How North American Cities Can Prepare for and Promote Large-Scale Adoption

With the rise in demand for home deliveries and the boom of the e-bike market in the U.S., cargo cycles are becoming the alternative mode of transporting goods in urban areas. However, many U.S. cities are struggling to decide how to safely integrate this new mode of transportation into the pre-existing urban environment.

In response, the Urban Freight Lab is developing a white paper on how cities can prepare for and promote large-scale adoption of cargo cycle transportation. Sponsors include freight logistics providers, bicycle industry leaders, and agencies Bosch eBike Systems, Fleet Cycles, Gazelle USA, Michelin North America, Inc., Net Zero Logistics, the Seattle Department of Transportation, and Urban Arrow.

The Urban Freight Lab is internationally recognized as a leader in urban freight research, housing a unique and innovative workgroup of private and public stakeholders and academic researchers working together to study and solve urban freight challenges. The Urban Freight Lab has previously worked on evaluating, studying, and deploying cargo cycles in Asia and the U.S, and is recognized as an expert leader in North America on cargo cycle research.

Objectives
The objectives of the white paper are the following:

  1. Define and understand what types of cargo bikes exist in North America, their main features, how they are operated, and the infrastructure they need.
  2. Identify opportunities for and challenges to large-scale adoption of cargo cycles in North American cities.
  3. Learn from case studies of U.S. cities’ approaches to regulating and promoting cargo cycles.
  4. Provide recommendations for how cities can safely recognize, enable and encourage large-scale adoption of cargo bikes, including infrastructure, policy, and regulatory approaches.

UPS E-Bike Delivery Pilot Test in Seattle: Analysis of Public Benefits and Costs (Task Order 6)

The City of Seattle granted a permit to United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) in fall 2018 to pilot test a new e-bike parcel delivery system in the Pioneer Square/Belltown area for one year. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) commissioned the Urban Freight Lab (UFL) to quantify and document the public impacts of this multimodal delivery system change in the final 50 feet of supply chains, to provide data and evidence for development of future urban freight policies.

The UFL will conduct analyses into the following research questions:

  1. What are the total changes in VMT and emissions (PM and GHG) to all three affected cargo van routes due to the e-bike pilot test in the Pike Place Market and neighboring areas?
  2. What is the change in the delivery van’s dwell time, e.g. the amount of time the van is parked, before and after introducing the e-bike?
  3. How does the e-bike system affect UPS’ failed first delivery (FFD) attempt rate along the route?
  4. If UPS begins to stage drop boxes along the route for the e-bike (instead of having to replenish from the parked trailer) what are the impacts to total VMT and emissions?
  5. How do e-bike delivery operations impact pedestrian, other bike, and motor traffic?
Paper

Data Stories from Urban Loading Bays

 
Download PDF  (1.16 MB)
Publication: European Transport Research Review
Volume: 9
Publication Date: 2017
Summary:

Freight vehicle parking facilities at large urban freight traffic generators, such as urban retail malls, are often characterized by a high volume of vehicle arrivals and a poor parking supply infrastructure. Recurrent congestion of freight parking facilities generates environmental (e.g. pollution), economic (e.g. delays in deliveries), and freight and social (e.g. traffic) negative externalities. Solutions aimed at either improving or better managing the existing parking infrastructure rely heavily on data and data-driven models to predict their impact and guide their implementation. In the current work, we provide a quantitative study of the parking supply and freight vehicle drivers’ parking behavior at urban retail malls.

We use as case studies two typical urban retail malls located in Singapore, and collect detailed data on freight vehicles delivering or picking up goods at these malls. Insights from this data collection effort are relayed as data stories. We first describe the parking facility at a mall as a queueing system, where freight vehicles are the agents and their decisions are the parking location choice and the parking duration.

Using the data collected, we analyze (i) the arrival rates of vehicles at the observed malls, (ii) the empirical distribution of parking durations at the loading bays, (iii) the factors that influence the parking duration, (iv) the empirical distribution of waiting times spent by freight vehicle queueing to access the loading bay, and (v) the driver parking location choices and how this choice is influenced by system congestion.

This characterization of freight driver behavior and parking facility system performance enables one to understand current challenges, and begin to explore the feasibility of freight parking and loading bay management solutions.

Authors: Dr. Giacomo Dalla Chiara, Lynette Cheah
Recommended Citation:
Dalla Chiara, G., Cheah, L. Data stories from urban loading bays. Eur. Transp. Res. Rev. 9, 50 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12544-017-0267-3