Credit: Unsplash (edited)
This article was originally published by Sarah Wray on Cities today, the leading news platform for urban mobility and innovation that reaches an international audience of city guides. For the latest updates, see Cities Today Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Youtubeor sign up for Cities Today News.
Dublin is testing mini-distribution centers in the city, as well as motorized walkers and quad cycles, to enable deliveries to the city center that do not contribute to local emissions or traffic jams.
The pilot project is funded by the City Council of Dublin, Enterprise Ireland and the City Council of Belfast. The system was developed as part of a Challenge of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), which looked for new approaches to optimize deliveries.
In this way, the design and manufacturing consultancy Fernhay developed the containers, bicycles and walking aids for the global logistics service provider UPS for testing. The vehicles enable workers to deliver goods such as food, medicine and packages.
The hubs pick up shipments and distribute them for delivery with removable containers. With two of these mini distribution centers in Dublin, UPS claims to have taken five diesel vehicles off the road, thereby reducing CO2 emissions by up to 45 percent.
Owen Keegan, Chairman of the Dublin City Council, said: “Working together is key to addressing the challenges our city is currently facing. We are delighted that our transportation department and Smart City program are working with innovative partners such as Fernhay and UPS to address the last issue ̵
Rethink the last mile
January The World Economic Forum report predicts that the number of delivery vehicles in the world’s largest cities will increase by 36 percent by 2030, leading to a 32 percent increase in emissions from delivery traffic and a 21 percent increase in traffic congestion. Since then, online shopping and grocery deliveries have grown significantly during the pandemic and could change retail trends in the longer term.
Peter Harris, UPS International Sustainability Director, said: “This is about redefining the logistics of the last mile. Cities need solutions that eliminate emissions and traffic congestion, and this system does this. But it goes on. The ability to load the box that the eWalker and eQuad carry throughout our network helps UPS work more efficiently. The adoption of this concept of swap bodies, which has long been practiced in long-haul freight, into the urban environment is a cornerstone and promotes UPS’s longstanding commitment to offer its customers sustainable solutions. “
Dublin could extend the trial to other operators, and Belfast will follow the pilot to explore the possibility of introducing a similar system.
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