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Experimental zero-emissions last-mile delivery hub launches in Seattle as a test for urban logistics

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Experimental zero-emissions last-mile supply hub launches in Seattle as a check for city logistics

Electric trike, electric bike, urban freight lab
Coaster Cycles’ Etrike matches an electrical cargo pod from BrightDrop. Each firms are collaborating in a pilot program for last-mile supply in Seattle. (Seattle Neighborhood Hub Pictures)

Seattle’s first neighborhood supply hub is now stay.

The hub, in a parking zone close to the Area Needle, brings collectively firms working in transportation, supply logistics and meals preparation to assist resolve the “final mile” downside — the expense and environmental price of the final leg of supply.

The issue is a spotlight of the College of Washington’s Urban Freight Lab, which estimates that simply the final 50 ft of supply accounts for 25-to-50% of transportation provide prices. The lab examines new methods to construction transportation methods by way of private-public partnerships. The neighborhood delivery hub is its new pilot mission.

“Our objective is to create space to encourage experimentation,” mentioned Anne Goodchild, the lab’s director and a professor of civil and environmental engineering. “However that experimentation goes to be completed by firms already working on this house.”

Anne Goodchild (proper) helps launch the Seattle Neighborhood Hub.

The hub serves as a supply level for vans, which offload parcels onto an electric-assist cargo trike or immediately right into a parcel locker. Goodchild envisions the hub not solely as an answer to the last-mile supply system, however as a neighborhood gathering place the place folks can seize a meal and socialize whereas selecting up their packages. Corporations concerned within the mission embrace:

  • Coaster Cycles, a Missoula, Mont., startup that makes electric-assist cargo trikes. Their on-site trike will haul packages for the meal service HelloFresh and different firms to the encompassing neighborhood.
  • BrightDrop, a spinout of Normal Motors producing first-to-last mile merchandise. BrightDrop has made an electric-assist rolling parcel provider that attaches to the trike and might disengage for hand pushing.
  • AxleHire, a logistics startup that gives route-optimization know-how for last-mile service. The corporate will coordinate deliveries.
  • REEF, a Miami-based startup that expanded from managing parking heaps to offering infrastructure for neighborhood hubs. Reef manages the lot and operates a neighborhood kitchen on website. Clients can now order a SoCal or NorCal Burrito from Man vs. Fries, a small chain that operates out of different REEF areas within the U.S. The kitchen can also be designed to companion with Seattle eating places, offering a small-footprint native possibility for supply.

The Seattle Division of Transportation is a companion on the mission, which dovetails with a program to foster cargo bike use and a 2030 objective to attain 30% zero-emission supply within the metropolis, mentioned Kelly Rula, the division’s New Mobility Supervisor.

“The idea of micro-hubs is actually taking off internationally as a very thrilling new experimental house,” mentioned Rula. She famous that New York Metropolis runs a cargo bicycle program with greater than 350 bikes. Amazon is a partner within the New York program, and is initiating a cargo bike program in London. In January 2021, there have been greater than 45,000 cargo bike deliveries in New York, based on a metropolis evaluation, and every bike saves seven tons of carbon dioxide per yr. Amazon is a companion on the City Freight Lab, although is just not concerned within the new hub mission.

The Seattle supply hub brings further companies along with cargo bike supply and, “is a good instance of how one house can be utilized for lots of various fascinating makes use of,” mentioned Rula.

The parcel locker accepts deliveries from all carriers.

The mission will assist the the town perceive the infrastructure wanted to assist new supply modes, mentioned Rula, who famous that cargo bikes at present don’t have license plates. As one other instance, the parcel locker, which accepts deliveries from all carriers, required its personal postal deal with, mentioned Goodchild. The locker accepts deliveries from all carriers, and folks residing or working close by can join locker supply at belltownlockers.com.

The City Freight Lab will probably be monitoring the brand new mission by way of a sequence of sensors, as an illustration assessing reductions in highway visitors and the variety of parcels delivered to the locker. Researchers will estimate carbon dioxide financial savings in comparison with standard truck-based supply methods.

Supply hubs have the potential to reinvigorate neighborhood inside an e-commerce supply system, mentioned Goodchild. Hubs might be built-in into the neighborhood, as a spot the place folks decide up their packages and purchase espresso from a stand or play with their kids at an hooked up park, she mentioned.

“It’s like a contemporary procuring middle, or neighborhood retailer,” mentioned Goodchild of the idea. “It’s decrease emissions, and it’s tailored to the brand new retail mannequin, however it’s nonetheless a neighborhood profit.”

The hub is situated at 130 fifth Ave. N, in what some locals name the Uptown neighborhood.


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