Mayor Michelle Wu and the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) have announced the launch of Boston Delivers, an e-cargo bike delivery pilot program, to serve local residents and businesses in Allston and the surrounding area. The program will launch in mid-September and run for at least a year, with the goal of supporting local businesses, reducing pollution, easing traffic congestion caused by the expansion of delivery services, and improving street safety.
“The way our small businesses and residents use our city’s curbs has changed over the last few years, and we’re launching Boston Delivers to explore how to make our streets flow more smoothly and safely for everyone,” said Wu. “This bike delivery pilot will support restaurants with an affordable, green and convenient delivery option while reducing congestion on our streets.”
The rise of delivery services following the pandemic has led to more congestion outside local businesses and double parking in bus, bike and vehicle travel lanes. This has led to more conflicts among pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles, and increased the potential for serious injury.
The city will subsidize the delivery costs for up to eight businesses. Additionally, the city is contributing about US$345,000 towards the pilot program. The majority of this is labor costs, along with outreach and translation services and equipment.
This pilot program has several key learning objectives that will help pave the way for the operation of e-cargo bikes for delivery. These are:
- Identify the policies, programs and regulations that need to change to allow for e-cargo bike delivery in the City of Boston;
- Test infrastructure changes needed to accommodate e-cargo bike delivery, including but not limited to e-cargo bike delivery zones, staging and sorting areas, parcel lockers, and other last-mile logistical needs;
- Measure the benefits of e-cargo bike delivery, including its impact on environmental, safety and economic metrics;
- Understand the costs and feasibility of e-cargo bike delivery for different types of businesses;
- Communicate to delivery service providers that the City of Boston is ready for delivery services to use e-cargo bikes.
The Boston Transportation Department has partnered with Net Zero, a leading final-mile logistics provider, to carry out the pilot. Net Zero will provide and manage the fleet of e-cargo bikes and related equipment, make the deliveries, and manage the logistics.