To address growing traffic congestion and air quality concerns, UPS and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced the deployment of a downtown delivery pilot project using cargo eBikes and customized modular trailers.
Modular boxes and trailer
“While we have launched cycle logistic projects in other cities, this is the first one designed to meet a variety of urban challenges,” said Scott Phillippi, UPS’s senior director of maintenance and engineering, international operations. “The modular boxes and trailer allow us to expand our delivery capabilities and meet the unique needs of our Seattle customers. It’s exciting to return to our roots. UPS started in Seattle in 1907 as a bicycle messenger company. We’re looking forward to being able to offer these customizable urban delivery solutions to other cities nationwide.”
Developed in collaboration with Silver Eagle Manufacturing using Truck Trikes. The cargo eBike system will have removable cargo containers that are deployed via a specially designed trailer. This “plug and play” design will provide greater flexibility to meet varying delivery needs. It will also be able to make deliveries to areas conventional delivery trucks can’t access directly and currently require that trucks be parked on the periphery for long periods of time. This will reduce congestion in these areas by reducing truck dwell time, instances of double parking and other unintended consequences associated with downtown deliveries, according.
The UPS cargo eBike is equipped with a battery-powered electric motor that can travel longer distances than traditional bikes, carry substantial loads and navigate hills and other terrains. The modular, detachable boxes on the trailer can hold up to 400 lbs. and have a 95 cubic foot capacity. The bikes can be operated with human pedal power or battery power, providing drivers with the flexibility they need to navigate changing terrain and energy efficiency.
Partnership with Seattle
UPS partnered with the Seattle Department of Transportation to develop plans for the new pilot program. If successful, UPS will expand the route and consider additional cargo eBike deliveries in other areas of the city. This is the first tailored urban delivery solution to address growing traffic congestion in Seattle’s downtown corridor and is part of UPS’s Cycle Logistics Solutions that help reduce carbon emissions, noise, and traffic.
“Seattle has always been the city that invents the future, and now we are partnering with one of our hometown companies to help drive innovations in transportation,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan. “As Seattle grows and public and private megaprojects limit capacity on our downtown streets, this pilot will help us better understand how we can ensure the delivery of goods while making space on our streets for transit, bikes, and pedestrians. We are eager to learn how pilots like these can help build a city of the future with fewer cars, more transit, and less carbon pollution.”
Urban Freight Lab
UPS and the University of Washington Urban Freight Lab will evaluate the cargo eBike’s reliability, design, and integration into Seattle’s infrastructure over the next year. The Urban Freight Lab is an initiative that brings together transportation engineers and urban planners who manage public spaces with retailers, freight carriers and technology companies supporting transportation solutions. UPS will share data and analyses from the pilot for assessment against two of the lab’s key objectives: improving first delivery attempts and reducing “dwell time,” both of which should reduce traffic congestion and pollution.
The UPS eBike was first demonstrated in 2012 in Hamburg, Germany, and serves as a prototype for the company’s cargo eBike in Seattle. UPS also operates inner-city delivery projects with delivery on foot and by bike in more than 30 major cities worldwide.