Image: Dept. of Transportation

Image: Dept. of Transportation

To cut down on traffic congestion, New York City and Pensacola, Florida, will test the delivery and pickup of goods by truck during off-peak hours (such as overnight) through newly launched federal pilot programs.

“The problem of local traffic is well-known to any major U.S. city; truck operators suffer when forced to crawl through crowded city streets, and residents suffer when trucks block travel lanes or parking access,” said Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration Gregory Nadeau. He said that with lighter commuter traffic and more available parking, off-peak hours should make delivery easier for truck drivers as well as peak commuters and those searching scrambling for parking.

“Thanks to DOT research, development, and deployment grants totaling $200,000, these two pilot cities will helps us test this idea,” said Nadeau. “If successful, a similar approach could be adopted in other areas around the country, saving time and money --hundreds of millions of dollars-- for businesses and truck drivers.” 

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, will receive a $100,000 grant from FHWA to recruit large, nationwide and regional retailers and food companies already operating in New York City to explore this approach in the city’s five boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island) and on neighboring Long Island as well as “eventually” nationwide. The agency noted that the new program builds on an earlier NYC pilot project that was funded through a similar DOT grant.

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

According to FHWA, funding in both pilots will be used “to help businesses retool their operations to accommodate shipments during off hours and help distributors reconfigure routes and supply chains through low-cost, operational strategies.”

The agency said the twin pilots will gather data on such outcomes as how much time and money truck deliveries made outside of peak and rush hours can save; how they improve air quality; and how they help create “more livable cities.”

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