New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced that a pilot program undertaken with the trucking industry found that trucks making off-hour deliveries between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. instead of at peak hours experienced fewer delays, easier parking, reduced congestion and significant savings for the 33 participating delivery companies and business locations receiving shipments. The study, the first that engages both delivery companies and businesses, also found that businesses overwhelmingly supported the benefits, with travel speeds improved as much as 75% and a sharp reduction in parking tickets and fines which exceeded $1,000 a month for each truck. Several participants continue to make off-hour deliveries and DOT is now developing ways to build upon this pilot. Joining the Commissioner was U.S. Department of Transportation Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) Administrator Peter Appel at a 14th Street location of Foot Locker, one of the retail participants in the study, as well as representatives from Sysco, Whole Foods Market and New Deal Logistics.
"New York is a city that never stops, and neither should its businesses," said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. "Time is money and this program is a signal to the entire industry that there’s an economic model for off-hour deliveries that also helps reduce congestion and pollution."
Freight deliveries into the borough exceed 100,000 daily, with 80% made to wholesale, retail and food enterprises. The pilot participants included a diverse group of eight delivery companies and 25 business locations who participated in the pilot for at least one month, including restaurants and retail stores. The project was funded with a $1.2 million dollar grant from the RITA and $640,000 from the project’s coordinator Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). The pilot also included participation by Rutgers University, New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management at NYU-Wagner and ALK Technologies.
"The Obama Administration’s commitment to finding innovative solutions to critical transportation challenges is demonstrated again today by the success of this pilot program," said RITA Administrator Peter Appel. "We will continue to encourage and support projects that use intelligent transportation system technologies to help America’s cities and communities fight congestion and reduce harmful emissions."
"This is an excellent—and probably one of the most important and prominent—example of what can be accomplished when academia, the public sector and private companies join forces to tackle challenging goals such as achieving sustainable urban freight deliveries," said RPI’s Director of the Center for Infrastructure, Transportation and the Environment Professor Jose Holguin-Veras. "In essence, off-hour deliveries lead to reduced congestion and environmental pollution, increased competitiveness of the urban area and an increase in quality of life conditions. Everybody wins."
DOT recognized the participants for demonstrating commitment to sustainability, and gave awards to Sysco, Whole Foods Market, New Deal Logistics and Foot Locker for their leadership roles during the pilot. "Sysco Metro New York was very pleased with the results of the Off-Peak Delivery Project," said Bobby Heim, Vice President of Operations, Sysco Metro New York, another participating carrier. "Along with Rensselaer, we were able to grow from one route to five routes with the assistance of a program incentive to our customers. Although the program incentives are not in place anymore, we continue to benefit from the remaining four delivery routes. Given the opportunity to expand upon our four off-peak routes currently in place, along with the use of the Holland Tunnel, Sysco would be able to improve efficiencies in servicing the New York City market area."
"Whole Foods Market was proud to play a role in this groundbreaking off-hours delivery trial," said Rob Twyman, Regional Vice President for Whole Foods Market’s Northeast Region, another participant. "This program matched well with our existing commitment to the environment, helping us to reduce truck idling emissions while increase our efficiency, and perhaps most importantly, ensuring the safety for New Yorkers by reducing traffic during heavy rush-hours on New York City streets and sidewalks."
"The expansion of off-hour deliveries is a smart business decision," said New Deal Logistics COO Joe Killeen. "With the limits on mobility in and out of New York City during ‘normal’ hours and the need to limit available curb space to make an attempt to keep traffic moving during those ‘normal’ hours, ‘normal hours’ will never be sufficient to meet the need."
"We are pleased to have had the opportunity to participate in the Manhattan Off-Hour Delivery Pilot," said John Szumski, Executive Vice President, Foot Locker U.S./Lady Foot Locker/Kids Foot Locker/Footaction. "Participation in this program allowed our company to pursue a business process improvement for our stores and support an initiative that was beneficial to New York City."
The pilot found that travel speeds from the truck depot to delivery drivers’ first stop in Manhattan improved by up to 75% compared to travel speeds during the evening rush hours, while subsequent trips averaged travel speeds up to 50% faster. With less competition for parking spaces accessible to the delivery location, trucks spent only 30 minutes stopped at the curbside making deliveries, instead of 100 minutes before the pilot. From beginning to end, delivery routes averaged 48 minutes faster during the pilot.
The project also focused on encouraging businesses to accept off-hour shipments through financial incentives and strategies to make the process easier, such as allowing "unassisted" deliveries—providing a key to the delivery team for a direct delivery or for delivery to a holding area, saving money for businesses that no longer had to have employees present to accept goods.
All participants saw savings during the four-month pilot, which ended in January. By having fresh food products waiting for them each morning, restaurants saw cost savings as staff were able to prepare food upon arriving rather than wait to assist in deliveries that are often delayed due to traffic congestion.
NYC DOT’s Freight Mobility Program is now looking to encourage off-hour deliveries by recognizing and assisting the pilot participants, promoting the off-hour initiative between other carriers and receivers and identifying future supporters, participants and team members.
Pilot participants included:
- 63 Bites
- Baldor Specialty Food
- Chris’s Cookies
- Foot Locker and Lady Foot Locker
- Gotham Bistro Restaurant at Four Points by Sheraton
- Gourmet Guru
- Just Salad
- Kolache Mama
- McMahon’s Farm
- Mossé Beverage Industries
- New Deal Logistics
- Overlook Midtown Restaurant
- Peet’s Coffee
- Pipa Restaurant
- Whole Foods Market
Providing input for the project were the New York State Motor Truck Association, New Jersey Motor Truck Association, New York State Restaurant Association, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, New York State Department of Transportation, New Jersey Turnpike Authority, I-95 Corridor Coalition and the Transportation Coordinating Committee.
For further details on how to participate in or support off-hour deliveries in New York City, whether you are a carrier, receiver or funding source, please contact NYC DOT's Office of Freight Mobility at 212-839-6670 or visit our Web page at www.nyc.gov/trucks. More information on the Manhattan Off-Hour Deliveries Pilot can be found at http://transp.rpi.edu/~usdotp.