Alternative delivery locations are viable options to offset the negative impacts of increased home deliveries
Newswise – TROY, NY – As demand for home deliveries from online shopping continues to rise, issues such as traffic jams, parking violations and air pollution from delivery trucks increase also, especially in dense and congested urban areas.
To counter these negative side effects, companies are exploring different options for getting the packages to the people who ordered them. Alternative delivery locations (ADLs) such as delivery lockers like Amazon’s Hub Locker, postal stores, or partnerships between physical stores and delivery companies like UPS Access Point have been developed as viable solutions.
In recently published research, Cara Wang, an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Woojung Kim, a doctoral student in the same Rensselaer department, found that some, but not all, consumers would go to the ADL to pick up their packages rather than having them delivered directly to their front door.
Using advanced computer modeling in conjunction with the New York City 2018 Department of Transportation Citywide Mobility Survey database, researchers found that people who receive more packages are actually among the least likely to use ADLs.
Research has also shown that the people most likely to use ADLs are those in underrepresented groups who don’t get a lot of packages.
“There is a target group of frequent online shoppers who are more of a burden on the freight system and the environment in general,” Dr. Wang said. “Through new technologies or the development of incentives, cities must find a way to encourage communities to understand the benefits of ADLs.”
Another question explored by researchers is the distance people will travel to an ADL to pick up the delivery. Their research showed that men and full-time students are more willing to travel further while people who live in apartments or older people are less willing to travel more than two blocks.
“It’s clear from the data that because different populations use ADLs differently, transportation planners cannot implement a one-size-fits-all solution for every neighborhood, every city,” Dr. Wang said. “We are far from finding all the answers, but the results of this research can help policy makers in dense urban areas better strategize around ADLs as a means of mitigating the negative externalities generated by delivery vehicles.”
The article, “The Adoption of Alternative Delivery Locations in New York: Who and How Far,” was recently published in Transportation Research Part A: Policies and Practices. This is the first study to comprehensively investigate behaviors on ADL from the perspective of users.
At Rensselaer, Dr. Wang and Mr. Kim work at the Center for Infrastructure, Transportation and the Environment (CITE) headed by Dr. José Holguín-Veras. CITE at Rensselaer is a world leader in studying complex transportation, infrastructure and environmental issues and in developing sustainable solutions and approaches to these issues. Recent CITE research topics include a study of home delivery services during the pandemic, the use of long-haul electric tractor-trailers, and urban freight.
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