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Project Dates
05/01/2012 - 04/30/2013
Principal Investigators
Project Status

Safe and reliable freight delivery is vital to support the needs of a livable community. In neighborhoods where the primary means of transportation for residents are transit, bicycling, or walking, local access to goods and services is absolutely essential. Retail stores, restaurants, offices, and other local industries cannot function without reliable delivery of the goods needed to operate their businesses. In Manhattan, more than 110,000 freight deliveries are made to businesses and residences daily. In order to make these deliveries, truck and van operators in the NYC region are required to navigate more than 7 hours of congested traffic daily. In Manhattan, where traffic gridlock is most severe, drivers also face an extreme parking challenge. Inaccessible parking, inadequate off-loading facilities, and lacking freight elevators lead to vehicle circling and idling, wasting driver time and fuel. Carriers, who are required to double-park, block through traffic flow on vehicle and bicycle lanes and accrue parking fines averaging $500 to $1000 per truck per month for deliveries made during business hours.

A significant share of NYC delivery vehicles carry food; according to the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey, more than 25% of trucks entering NYC via Port Authority crossings in 2009 were carrying food products. Many food deliveries are complicated by a need for temperature control throughout the supply-chain. In order to meet U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HAACP) requirements, the entire supply-chain, including warehouses and vehicles, must be certified to ensure cold-chain maintenance. Currently, cold-chain constraints may limit the use of multi-modal supply chains that require transshipment.

Nearly all last-mile freight delivery in NYC is performed by commercial trucks and vans, and the majority of these vehicles are diesel-fueled. When diesel-engines burn fuel, byproducts emitted include particulate matter, greenhouse gases, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and other noxious substances that impact air quality, public health, and the environment. Excessive fuel combustion due to congestion and idling elevates emissions levels beyond those resulting from unimpeded operations. In addition to engine emissions, truck operations also create noise pollution that is particularly undesirable in areas with mixed commercial and residential development. Trucks also pose a safety challenge on shared multi-modal infrastructure. Although truck drivers are often more cautious than other vehicle operators, severity is generally much greater in truck-involved accidents. Recent NYC studies of accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists found that trucks and other large vehicles contribute to a disproportionate share of fatal incidents.

Project Goal

The goal of this project is to evaluate and quantify the benefits of using freight-tricycles compared to motorized vehicles for urban delivery in Manhattan, and to examine the feasibility of using freight-tricycles as part of a HAACP certified supply-chain. It is envisioned that the results of this work will allow freight stakeholders in the New York City region, including shippers, carriers, and public agencies to understand the speed, travel-time reliability, and parking performance of freight-tricycles operating in the city's unique conditions, to understand the feasibility for using freight-tricycles for HAACP certified food delivery, and to identify the emissions benefits of a modal shift.

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