Sustainable Freight

Final Report: 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

This three-year project supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Vehicle Technologies Office has the potential to radically improve the urban freight system in ways that help both the public and private sectors. Working from 2018-2021, project researchers at the University of Washington’s Urban Freight Lab and collaborators at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have produced key data, tested technologies in complex urban settings, developed a prototype parking availability app, and helped close major knowledge gaps.

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.

Biking the Goods

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.

Roadblocks to Sustainable Urban Freight

While several stakeholders in the private and public sectors are taking actions and drafting roadmaps to achieve sustainable urban freight goals, the urban freight ecosystem is a complex network of stakeholders, achieving such sustainability goals requires the collaboration and coordination between multiple agents. Researchers collected and synthesized views from both the private and public sectors on what is needed to sustainably deliver the last mile and identify roadblocks towards this goal.

Identifying the Challenges to Sustainable Urban Last-Mile Deliveries: Perspectives from Public and Private Stakeholders

Reducing CO2 emissions from urban freight requires the collaboration and coordination between those agents, but the motivations behind their goals, strategies for achieving those goals, and the challenges faced by each agent may differ. In this paper, we document the strategies aimed at reducing CO2 emissions considered by cities and private companies with the goal of understanding the challenges to progress faced by each.

Urban Delivery Company Needs and Preferences for Green Loading Zones Implementation: A Case Study of NYC

(This project is part of the Urban Freight Lab's Technical Assistance Program, where UFL contributes to the project by providing 1:1 match funds in terms of staff and/or research assistants to complete project tasks.)

NYC Zero-Emissions Urban Freight and Green Loading Zones Market Research

In an effort to reduce emissions from last-mile deliveries and incentivize green vehicle adoption, The New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) is seeking to implement a Green Loading Zone (GLZ) pilot program. A Green Loading Zone is curb space designated for the sole use of “green” vehicles, which could include electric and alternative fuel vehicles as well as other zero-emission delivery modes like electric-assist cargo bikes.

Mapping the Challenges to Sustainable Urban Freight

Amazon in 2019 pledged to become a net-zero carbon business by 2040. In the wake of that pledge, Amazon financially supported this Urban Freight Lab research examining two key questions:

  1. What is the current state of sustainable urban freight planning in the United States?
  2. What are the challenges to achieving a sustainable urban freight system in the United States and Canada?

Defining Urban Freight Microhubs: A Case Study Analysis

Urban freight distribution has confronted several challenges, including negative environmental, social, and economic impacts. Many city logistics initiatives that use the concept of Urban Consolidation Centers (UCCs) have failed. The failure of many UCCs does not mean that the idea of additional terminals or microhubs should be rejected. There is limited knowledge about the advantages and disadvantages of using microhubs, requiring further exploration of this concept.

Urban Freight in 2030

The Urban Freight in 2030 project will explore emerging urban freight trends, their impacts on local and global sustainable development, and propose Urban Freight Lab’s future course of action. We'll use the expertise of the Urban Freight Lab members and partners, supported by up-to-date research and subject specialists, to create a shared vision of the future of urban delivery in 2030, and produce vision documents to be shared publicly, outlining and detailing the Urban Freight Lab’s vision of the future of urban freight. 

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