In an effort to address growing traffic congestion and air quality concerns, UPS is to deploy a downtown delivery pilot project using pedal-assist cargo eBikes and customized, modular trailers. The cargo eBikes will operate in the historic Pike Place Market and Downtown Seattle area, on sidewalks and in designated bike lanes.
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 unique 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, which currently requires 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.
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.
The UPS cargo eBike is equipped with a battery-powered electric motor that can travel longer distances than traditional human-powered bikes, carry substantial loads and navigate hills and other terrain. The modular, detachable boxes on the trailer can hold up to 400 lb (181kg) and have a 95ft² (9m²) capacity.
The bikes can be operated with human pedal power or battery power, providing drivers the flexibility they need to navigate changing terrain and energy efficiency.
Scott Phillippi, UPS’s senior director of maintenance and engineering, international operations, said, “While we have launched cycle logistic projects in other cities, this is the first one designed to meet a variety of urban challenges.
“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.”
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 analysis 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.