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Online Shopping Is Making Traffic Congestion Worse

Thursday, 29 November 2018 at 14:53

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Cyber Monday is behind us, but the effects of it will continue for weeks

Online shopping may be easier, but it may be making traffic congestion in urban areas worse due to more courier vehicles making their deliveries.

The growth of e-commerce is linked with urban traffic congestion. Trucks alone will be responsible for  £15 billion a year in urban congestion costs in 2020. That is up some 20% since 2014.

The Post Office expects to deliver 300 million packages this Christmas period and Parcel Force and UPS are delivering 10% more packages than in 2016.

More traffic is induced on net by the online purchasing behaviour.

If your single online order replaces a trip to the shop, there is probably no gain in congestion. But if four people in your neighborhood order online and that brings four different couriers into the neighborhood, which must stop in areas that are not designed for courier vehicles, thereby slowing other traffic, or even blocking the street, then congestion worsens, the experts say.

In the end, online ordering and the expected two-day or less delivery windows is actually increasing the number of couriers on the road, and making them less efficient as they drive from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, day after day.

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