Parcel deliveries and parking: potential for improving productivity

Recent growth in e-commerce has impacted the distribution of parcel deliveries in cities, with residential deliveries accounting for a rapidly growing share of urban freight movement. Through field observation and development of a simulation model, a study by UTRC aims to investigate the characteristics of parcel delivery activity in a heavily residential area of Manhattan, New York City, and to investigate the expected traffic impacts of double parking parcel delivery vehicles.

Recognizing the growing demand for home deliveries, many cities are trying to understand the new travel patterns to conduct these deliveries, and to identify what updates are needed to existing regulations. For instance, in many residential areas in New York, zoning requirements and curb regulations have not been updated to account for residential buildings as a freight trip generator. However, few effective planning strategies have been identified due to a lack of reliable data at the block level. Primary reasons for the limited availability of data include a lack of historical mandates for measuring freight activity in local and regional planning, as well as privacy concerns from the freight industry.

Field observations revealed a number of unique characteristics of parcel deliveries and of individual carriers. Analysis of simulation results identifies two major conclusions:

  • different double parking location choice along the estimated corridor resulted in a corridor capacity drop of 6%-12%
  • at moderate flow, the average parking duration was found to have a significant impact on vehicle delay along the corridor for some vehicles.


Major policy-relevant conclusions from the field observation and micro-simulation analysis conducted in this case study area are:

  • Deliveries to residential buildings occurred throughout the day, with the highest peak observed during afternoon hours;
  • Carriers typically operated according to one of three models: (1) most parcel delivery vehicles parked for a short duration, making deliveries to a single location; (2) some parcel delivery vehicles parked for much longer durations, making deliveries from a parked vehicle to multiple destinations; (3) One grocery operator continuously occupied a legal curbside space, from which delivery personnel made multiple deliveries;
  • Corridor capacity is reduced by truck double parking; impacts are greatest when double parking obstructs intersection turning movements;
  • Travel delays for some drivers will increase significantly when the average duration of individual double parking events increases, even if the total double parking remains constant.

Improvements should be made to better manage (and enforce) street and curb space to accommodate growing demand for parcel deliveries.

Source: UTRC

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