Urban Deliveries Posing Several Challenges

The doormen in urban apartment buildings used to mostly contend with screening guests and keeping the entryway in good shape. Now, with online shopping becoming de rigueur, lobbies are now starting to look a bit like warehouses, and the concierges are essentially running package sorting centers. This problem is only likely to get worse as more people turn to buying all manner of goods online.

That’s why the University of Washington is putting together a new lab that will study urban deliveries and test new ideas. The project will entail stakeholders such as city officials, freight carriers, commercial developers, urban planners, researchers, logistics experts, and firms such as Costco, Nordstrom and UPS.

The first area they plan to tackle is the last leg between drivers of delivery trucks parking and then handing off packages in their destination buildings, which is known as the “final 50 feet.”

Limited Space for Parking, Unloading, and Storing

Some apartment building owners are planning loading and common areas to help contend with the influx of packages. However, the problem of limited space in urban centers must still be addressed. There is often very little parking and curb space where delivery trucks can unload, and all of this space must still be shared with pedestrians, cars, and bicycles.

Freight infrastructures such as private loading bays and delivery patterns will be mapped as part of the project, and they’ll be testing solutions for managing alleys and curb space as well as central drop-off lockers. Off-hour deliveries are being looked into as another way of alleviating the problems posed by parking and traffic, but noise issues will have to be accounted for if this approach is to be successful.

University of Washington Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Anne Godchild believes that the final 50 feet challenge is something that cannot be solved independently. The project ultimately hopes to develop “urban freight score” rankings that will assess the accessibility of various Seattle locations.

This blog post was based off of an article from Retail Wire. View the original here.