This blog was written by Alonso Dávila Graf, Sustainable Mobility Junior Officer, ICLEI World Secretariat, and edited by Yiqian Zhang, Sustainable Mobility Officer, ICLEI World Secretariat
The growing demand for e-commerce delivery will result in 36% more delivery vehicles in the top 100 cities globally by 2030, leading to a 32% increase in its associated emissions and over 21% increase in traffic congestion without effective intervention, according to the World Economic forum (World Economic Forum 2020). Fueled by COVID-19 and changing consumer behavior, the rising e-commerce continues to disrupt the supply chain and exacerbate freight transport’s externalities. What innovative approaches or policies are local governments implementing to make their urban freight transport system more sustainable?
Some of the approaches were deliberated at the roundtable: “Ecologistics: Improving last-mile delivery”, taking place on March 24th as part of the 4th Volvo Research and Educational Foundations (VREF) Conference on Urban Freight. Looking to address the challenges and opportunities for last-mile deliveries, the session presented two projects in South America: “BiciCarga” pilot project currently implemented in Bogotá, Colombia and the planned demonstration project of cargo bike sharing for last mile deliveries in Rosario, Argentina.
Juan Esteban Martinez Ruiz, Undersecretary of Policies for Mobility in Bogotá, Colombia, presented how the “BiciCarga” pilot has been implemented in the city and its preliminary results. With a fleet of e-cargo bikes the City is looking to promote and establish sustainable alternatives for freight distribution. Its wider goal is to identify key stakeholders and create a valuable cycle freight network to share good practices of sustainable urban freight and inform policy making. The pilot project consists of two models: the “in-house last-mile distribution” and the “collaborative cross-docking platform”. In the first model, companies use cargo bikes to deliver goods from their private distribution centers to the delivery points within a distance of 5 kilometers (km). The second model uses a shared distribution center where companies could deliver their products to and use cargo bikes for the last-mile deliveries.
The results have been promising. In three months, cargo bikes under the “in-house last mile distribution” model travelled 1600km and were used for 580 deliveries, leading to an estimated reduction of 270 kg of CO2. When compared with motorcycles, cargo bikes travelled greater distances and more deliveries were made. As for the “collaborative cross-docking platform” model, the number of deliveries per kilometer tripled when compared to the delivery model normally used: using e-cargo bikes, 2300 deliveries were made but less distance were travelled (600 km), leading to a saving of 250 kg of CO2. However, challenges exist within the project, e.g. the lack of adequate infrastructure for cargo bikes, the difficulty to access all areas of the city and the need to share the space with pedestrians and cyclists without compromising their comfort and priority on the road space.
Through a video, the City of Rosario, Argentina, shared its planned demonstration project aiming at integrating 20 smart cargo bikes within the existing public bike share system Mi Bici Tu Bici. The City is planning to set up a public bike share system with zero-emission vehicles for last-mile deliveries. As such, awareness-raising campaigns and the improvement of cycling infrastructure will be planned as part of the project. To evaluate the potential greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions of using cargo bikes for deliveries, surveys will be conducted and data will be collected, e.g. kilometers traveled, trip mode, routes, average speed, etc. The data will be input data for the EcoLogistics Self-monitoring tool developed through the EcoLogistics project.
As part of the panel discussions, the panelists deep-dived into questions related to consumer behaviors, urban infrastructure for freight activities and the use of data analytics for last-mile logistics.
Some of the key takeaways of the discussions include:
- To raise awareness among consumers, it is necessary to make the costs of deliveries more visible.
- In order to incentivize private companies to modernize their freight vehicle fleet, it is essential that the alternative freight transport models provided ensure the quality of service.
- Looking at the urban infrastructure, cities must take a holistic approach and address the infrastructure capacity consumed by freight activities, e.g. safe and wide bike lanes for cargo bikes can be considered.
- Cities need to include urban freight into city-wide transportation planning and urban planning to guide its regulation and implementation.
Read more and download the presentation slides at: https://sustainablemobility.iclei.org/vref2021/
©Secretaría Distrital de Movilidad de Bogotá