Truckers favor off-peak deliveries in NYC

| Friday, July 16, 2010

It may seem like a no-brainer that truckers prefer to make deliveries during off-peak hours in major cities. Officials in New York City and with the federal government are not only listening but also taking steps to make it happen more often.

As part of a pilot program, the NYC Department of Transportation, the U.S. DOT, the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rutgers University and other agencies established partnerships between delivery companies and businesses to allow off-peak deliveries between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The results were encouraging for the 33 delivery companies and 25 business locations participating in the pilot.

The study showed that travel speeds from a truck depot to a delivery driver’s first stop in Manhattan improved by 75 percent.

Truckers were able to reduce curbside wait times from 100 minutes to just 30 minutes by making the switch. Delivery routes with multiple stops were sped up by an average of 48 minutes per truck.

OOIDA leadership helped provide input to stakeholders, meeting on several occasions with Transportation and Environment Professor Jose Holguin-Veras of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

“We see it as a win-win situation, because there’s no tax money to be used, no setting up of complicated systems or GPS or congestion pricing. None of that comes into play,” OOIDA Foundation Director Tom Weakley said. “It’s just an efficient, cost-effective program.”

The NYC program was funded with a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration and $640,000 from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Around the country, truckers continue to be at the mercy of just-in-time deliveries and are forced to travel through congested areas at the worst possible times.

Weakley says more cities should take note of the program.

“They honestly should. Jose has just done a great job, and that study should enlighten people that there are ways of dealing with congestion and other traffic problems that don’t necessarily mean spending more money or borrowing more money,” he said.

The NYC DOT is encouraging input and an increase in participation. If you are a carrier, receiver for funding source, contact the DOT’s Office of Freight Mobility at 212-839-6670 or visit www.nyc.gov.

– By David Tanner, associate editor
david_tanner@landlinemag.com