Purpose and Goals
We are living at the convergence of the rise of e-commerce, ride-hailing services, connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technologies, and fast-growing cities. Customers want the goods delivery system to bring them whatever they want, where they want it, in one to two hours. At the same time, many cities are replacing goods delivery load/unload spaces with transit and bike lanes.

Our Goals

The UFL’s first task is pilot testing promising low-cost and high-value actions to optimize operations in the Final 50 Feet of the urban goods delivery system. The Final 50 Feet is defined as the supply chain segment that begins when trucks pull into a parking space and stop moving—in public load/unload spaces at the curb or in an alley, or in a building’s loading dock or internal freight bay. It tracks the delivery process inside buildings and ends where the customer takes receipt of their goods.

Our goals are:

1. Reduce dwell time (the time a truck is parked in a load/unload space in the city). Reaching this goal has both public and private benefits:

  • Lower costs for delivery firms, and therefore potentially lower costs for their customers;
  • More efficient use of public and private truck load/unload spaces creates more capacity without building additional spaces; and
  • More space for other vehicles to move through alleys—trucks can legally unload at both ends of the alley, blocking other uses.

2. Reduce failed first deliveries. First delivery attempts in urban areas have an 8-10% fail rate. Reducing failed first deliveries will:

  • Improve urban online shoppers’ experiences and protect retailers’ brands;
  • Make the City of Seattle a more inviting place to live and work, thereby attracting more business development;
  • Cut business costs for the retail sector and logistics firms;
  • Cut crime and provide a safer environment for residents and workers;
  • Improve an amenity that adds value at multifamily properties—the ability to ensure that their tenants can shop online and get their order when they expect it;
  • Lower traffic congestion in cities, as delivery trucks could make up to 10% fewer trips while still completing the same number of deliveries; and
  • Ensure that all city neighborhoods can receive online orders, not just a few.

Our Achievements

Since our October 2016 launch, the Lab has completed an innovative suite of research projects that provide foundational data and proven strategies. Our research program has:


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