Amazon, DHL and UPS will test cargo bikes in New York City as alternatives to traditional delivery vans in a pilot project city officials hope will result in reduced congestion, improved air quality and a safer environment for pedestrians.
Amazon will begin by using 90 bikes to help deliver groceries out of three Whole Foods locations. DHL will start with three bikes making deliveries out of its Manhattan service center. UPS said it would use "a few cargo bikes" during the pilot. All three said they planned to scale up their use over time.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) pilot will last for six months and could be extended depending on the results, the city said in a press release. The DOT will monitor variables like speed, parking and use of bike lanes with an aim to "better understand whether cargo bicycles can successfully fit into the City’s streetscape."
All three of these companies have used delivery bikes in other cities around the world. DHL uses them in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Singapore, according to Bruce Marsh, senior manager of corporate public policy at DHL. UPS operates the bikes in 30 cities around the world, a spokesperson told Supply Chain Dive in an email. Amazon has tested them out in Europe.
Solving the parking predicament
Companies say cargo bikes could save time on deliveries because drivers won't have to worry about dealing with one of New York City's most precious resources: parking space.
The bikes will have a few different parking options available to them.
The city is going to set up corrals where these bikes will be able to park when loading and unloading, which will be in more high-traffic areas.
The bikes can park on the sidewalk as long as they keep enough of the walkway free in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The bikes can park, without charge, in the same loading and unloading zones used by traditional delivery vans.
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