Urban freight pilot programs help truckers avoid gridlock

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | 3/13/2015

Two major cities, with help from the Federal Highway Administration, have launched pilot programs to accommodate freight deliveries while reducing daytime congestion. OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Scott Grenerth recently attended an urban freight roundtable to discuss new programs in New York and Washington, D.C.

One program involves allowing 53-foot trailers in parts of New York City that used to be off-limits.

“The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey has done a lot of work to let the people in the neighborhoods around JFK (International Airport) and others know that 53-foot trailers are not going to be driving through their lawns, or in their backyards,” Grenerth reports.

“They just want to have access to these major freight hubs,” he told “Land Line Now.” And so they are allowing them in certain areas. From there, a pilot program will expand it out into other freight corridors. These are areas where it has been prohibited in the past.

In Washington, D.C., the feds are supporting a pilot program that encourages off-peak delivery schedules for truckers. Grenerth says the program is similar to a 2010 pilot program in New York. The OOIDA Foundation provided stakeholder input to New York’s off-peak program, which demonstrated that an average curbside time of 100 minutes during peak hours could be reduced to 30 minutes during off-peak hours.

“We’re familiar with the nighttime delivery program they did in New York City that was widely successful,” Grenerth said. “Nothing but positive response from that.”

“So the FHWA is working with the city of Washington, D.C., to do a similar effort there, where shippers and receivers – and we’re mainly talking about local businesses – will be encouraged and incentivized to offer extended hours to receive deliveries so that drivers can come in when they’d much rather come in,” Grenerth said. “Not during the day. Not during the gridlock of morning or the afternoon and evening, but before and after that.”

An additional component to the D.C. program is the implementation of loading and unloading zones. Urban freight planners have discussed implementing loading and unloading fees, and Grenerth says there are still questions about who should be responsible for paying those fees.

Grenerth attended the FHWA urban freight roundtable on Wednesday, March 11. He says the agency continues to be proactive and listen to truckers.

“They have a great record of working with OOIDA on that, and they’re doing a great job trying to find ways to be an advocate for the industry and to help,” he said.

See related stories:
Rush hour got you down? U.S. DOT to study off-peak deliveries
Truckers favor off-peak deliveries in NYC

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