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NYC launches cargo bike program to reduce delivery congestion

New York, NY — New York City has launched an initiative to encourage freight companies to reduce delivery-related congestion through the use of cargo bicycles.

UPS, Amazon and DHL are taking part in the Commercial Cargo Bike Program, introduced in time for the holiday shopping season, should reduce traffic by bringing an estimated 100 cargo bikes from major delivery companies to the city’s most crowded streets in midtown and downtown Manhattan.

The New York City Department of Transportation said the test will occur in Manhattan below 60th Street, which is the area where the city plans to implement a “congestion pricing” plan starting in 2021. Under that plan, passenger vehicles will be charged as much as USD$14 and commercial trucks as much as $25 to enter the area during peak commuting hours.

“DOT is excited to announce this pilot to make freight deliveries in NYC safer and greener by encouraging the use of pedal-assist cargo bikes instead of trucks,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.

DHL cargo bikes (cubicycles) in Germany. (DHL)

She noted that trucks have been involved in a disproportionately high number of cyclist fatalities in the city this year.

“We are especially interested in the safety benefits this pilot can bring to our streets,” Trottenberg said. “We thank UPS, DHL and Amazon for their participation and invite other interested freight companies to join and help us make this pilot a success.”

“Over two million deliveries are made in NYC daily. That’s about a million freight trips per day passing through the five boroughs and that number is only expected to increase,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. “There’s no doubt the rise in deliveries has caused chaos on our streets–but there are plenty of thoughtful solutions out there to make our streets safer and more sustainable. I’m excited to see DOT exploring this new technology which will help bring NYC’s freight and delivery systems into the 21st Century. I look forward to seeing these cargo bikes on the road and working with DOT in the near future to take a comprehensive look at how we manage these deliveries.”

Last fall, UPS Canada used a custom-made cargo bike to deliver packages in and around the York University campus, as part of a pilot program to test the potential of delivery by bike in the City of Toronto.

A UPS cargo bike in Toronto. (UPS Canada)

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