Out of Control Policy Blog

Nighttime Delivery Looks so Obvious

The opening paragraph  in the Crain's New York Business article says it all. 

“It seemed like a no-brainer: Trucks in Manhattan could save money and time if they delivered their goods at night. But it took a one-month pilot program and thousands of dollars in incentives to get companies to change their habits.”

I saw a presentation on this experiment that was conducted in New York City.  According to the transportation officials, the pilot program was the first of its kind to study off-peak deliveries, and was funded in part with $1.2 million in federal money. The experiment occurred in January, 2010 and eight delivery companies participated.   Twenty-five businesses agreed to receive goods at night, among them Whole Foods, Foot Locker and a handful of restaurants. Those businesses each received $2,000 to help cover overtime and other costs.

The city’s Department of Transportation said each truck in a pilot program that operated between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. saved about $1,000 in parking fines alone, and saw its average delivery route time drop by 48 minutes. Small companies were paid $300 per participating truck and large trucking companies received a single grant of $3,000 to compensate them for having to make changes in their delivery schedule. Now that the program is over and the results show savings for companies making and receiving deliveries, some of those businesses are continuing their newfound ways

While the incentives are no longer available at least one of the participants, Sysco, said it would expand its number of nighttime delivery routes in part because their drivers embraced the ease with which deliveries could be made at night.

No matter what city you live in, this seems an easy solution to the delivery trucks that clog up our city streets during the day especially at rush hour. Does it really take incentives from the tax payer?

Shirley Ybarra is Senior Transportation Policy Analyst


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