In particular in crowded, urban locations, issues like traffic congestion, parking infractions, and air pollution from delivery trucks get worse as demand for home deliveries from online sales rises.
Companies are looking into other methods of delivering items to customers in order to counteract these adverse consequences.
Alternative delivery locations (ADLs) have been established as workable options. Examples of ADLs include postal facilities, delivery lockers like Amazon’s Hub Locker, and collaborations between physical establishments and delivery services like the UPS Access Point.
In recently published research, Woojung Kim, a doctoral student in the same department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Cara Wang, an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, discovered that some customers, but not all, will accept picking up their packages at the ADL rather than having them delivered right to their front door.
The researchers discovered that persons who receive more parcels are actually among those who use ADLs the least. They did this by combining cutting-edge computer modeling with the New York City Department of Transportation’s 2018 Citywide Mobility Survey datasets.
The study also revealed that folks from underrepresented groups who don’t get many gifts are most prone to use ADLs.
It’s clear from the data that because different populations use ADLs differently, transportation planners cannot implement a one-size-fits-all solution to every neighborhood, every city. We are a long way from finding all the answers but results from this research can help policymakers in dense urban areas better establish strategies regarding the ADLs as a way to mitigate negative externalities generated by delivery vehicles.Dr. Cara Wang
“There is a target group of frequent online shoppers that is more of a burden to the freight system and the environment overall,” Dr. Wang said. “Through new technology or developing incentives, cities need to find a way to encourage communities to understand the benefits of ADLs.”
The distance that consumers will travel to an ADL to pick up a delivery is a another issue that the researchers are investigating. According to their research, those who live in apartments or older persons are less inclined to travel more than two city blocks than men and full-time students.
“It’s clear from the data that because different populations use ADLs differently, transportation planners cannot implement a one-size-fits-all solution to every neighborhood, every city,” Dr. Wang said.
“We are a long way from finding all the answers but results from this research can help policymakers in dense urban areas better establish strategies regarding the ADLs as a way to mitigate negative externalities generated by delivery vehicles.”
The paper, “The adoption of alternative delivery locations in New York City: Who and how far,” was recently published in Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice. It is the first study to comprehensively investigate behaviors on the ADL from the users’ perspective.