Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Department of Transportation Invests in Out of Hours Freight Delivery Projects

US Starts to Look at Rationalising Urban Deliveries and Collections
Shipping News Feature

US – The US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced $200,000 in grants under its Surface Transportation Research, Development and Deployment Program, in order to allow cities with congestion problems to explore shifting many freight deliveries and pickups to night-time and off-peak hours. The grants will fund pilot projects in New York City boroughs and in Pensacola, Florida, to work with large retailers and food companies to research and test the out of hours delivery of goods. US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, said:

“I’ve talked to people around the country and they have told me they are tired of spending hours stuck in traffic, they want their transportation problems solved. If successful in these cities, this approach can be applied to other areas around the country, cutting congestion, commute times, and the costs to businesses.”

The pilots will look at how truck deliveries made outside of peak and rush hours when there is less traffic on the highways can save time and money for freight carriers, improve air quality and create more sustainable and liveable cities. The funding will be used to help businesses retool their operations to accommodate shipments during off hours and distributors reconfigure routes and supply chains by using low-cost operational strategies. Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau commented:

“The problem of daytime truck traffic is well-known to any major city in the United States, and it’s time for new solutions. While aggravating local traffic, trucks too have been forced to crawl through city streets causing businesses losses in time, money and productivity.”

The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, based in Troy, NY, will receive a $100,000 grant from FHWA to engage large nationwide and regional retailers and food companies, already operating in NYC, to explore this approach in other NYC boroughs and Long Island, and eventually nationwide. This project builds on an earlier pilot project in NYC that was also funded through a similar USDOT grant.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will also receive a $100,000 grant to partner with the Sacred Heart Health System to explore off-hour freight deliveries at its medical campus, in Pensacola, Florida, which includes the expanding children’s hospital and adult care centre. The grant will help the hospital and FDOT investigate the cost-benefit of off-hour deliveries, including materials for campus operations and hospital supplies, in light of the additional traffic expected from the growing facility.

According to a USDOT study earlier this year ‘Beyond Traffic’, by 2040 the amount of freight moving in the United States will grow by 45%. The US will have to tackle this problem through innovation and Secretary Foxx emphasised the Administration’s plan to address the infrastructure deficit with the Grow America Act, a six-year surface transportation reauthorisation proposal that would provide $18 billion over six years for targeted investments in freight.

Photo: Summer in the City – New York on a hot weekday.