Urban Deliveries – The Inner City Challenge
Tuesday, 6 Jun 2017
We are buying more goods online than ever before – and we all want our purchases delivered as quickly as possible, at the cheapest price. Actually, what we really want is delivery within the hour, free of charge.
And our wish list doesn’t end there. We want the power to track our parcel’s journey and to choose from a rainbow range of delivery locations. These could include not only our homes, but also a convenient store or parcel locker, our favourite café, the boot of our car, and even a chosen spot on the sidewalk or the glade in a city park.
A few years ago, this would have been just wishful thinking, Today, we actually can do all of this and more.
But there is a problem. Or, to give it a positive spin, there is a challenge which needs to be overcome if the parcel industry is to make the most of the e-commerce bonanza.
The sheer volume of goods being ordered online and rushed to their impatient buyers is now threatening to gridlock our road infrastructure. And this is a particular concern in major cities like London or Paris. Vans delivering online goods make up a relatively small proportion of our inner city traffic – but they do represent one of the fastest-growing sectors. Furthermore, many cities have reached a “tipping point”, so any amount of e-commerce driven traffic would be an unwelcome addition. And delivery vans can often be particularly intrusive because they spend a large part of their time parked up while their driver is trying to complete the delivery on foot – or driving round in circles looking for a parking space.
All these vehicles not only clog up the roads; they are not doing much good for city dwellers’ lungs.
So, what we need are solutions that will support more parcel deliveries, but with fewer parcel delivery vehicles – and far less vehicle emissions!
We need technologies that can help to make sure that vans are routed to complete their multiple drop-offs and pick-ups in the most effective way possible; and to offer customers convenient time windows and keep them informed, so they don’t miss their deliveries.
We also need more parcel stores and lockers and a more collaborative approach to click and collect networks and logistics centres. If we can find ways to share capacity, we can cut back on spare capacity.
The goal: fewer vehicles, working much more efficiently – and running on cleaner energy sources.
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