New York City will expand a program that encourages off-peak deliveries in Manhattan to help clear traffic jams that cost the city more than $13 billion a year.
The project paired more than 30 truckers and receivers who agreed to shift deliveries to between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. from last September through January.
All participants realized savings from the program, especially the truckers, said New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.
"This pilot program has given us the clearest look at the benefits of off-hour deliveries," Sadik-Khan said at a street-side press conference in Manhattan July 1.
Manhattan sees more than 110,000 curbside deliveries a day, and shifting even a portion of them to off-peak hours has an impact on daytime congestion.
"Drivers found they could make deliveries on-time and be much more fuel-efficient, while receivers didn't spend hours waiting for deliveries each day," she said.
Specifically, trucks reached their first stop 75 percent more quickly in off-peak hours, and following stops 50 percent more quickly, according to the study.
The amount of time spent unloading and loading trucks was reduced from about 90 to 30 minutes. "That's real time, and time is money in New York," said Sadik-Khan.
The commissioner spoke at a ceremony honoring participants in the pilot project, which was run by researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Among the participants were Foot Locker, Whole Foods Market, Sysco and New Deal Logistics.
The economic benefits were clear to truck drivers Chubb Chang and Frank Rubino of New Deal Logistics, a motor carrier with headquarters in South Kearny, N.J.
On average, a driver can make 12 to 15 stops a day in Manhattan, Chang said, and congestion can place severe limits on day-to-day productivity.
"You may have to circle a block for half an hour to find a place to park during the day," he said. "With off-peak delivery, you can do twice as many turns."
Delivering off-peak also cut down on parking tickets, Sadik-Khan said. "The truckers saw an average of $1,000 per truck per month, and that was largely eliminated."
Off-peak delivery also reduces pollution by cutting down on the time trucks idle in traffic or during deliveries and pickups, she said. "This will improve air quality."
Receivers may have had to pay more to have someone on hand to accept deliveries, but they saw savings in increased daytime productivity, Sadik-Khan said.
"They were able to receive the goods and process them in timely fashion and focus more on customer service," she said. "They weren't left waiting for goods."
The city is encouraging more shippers, trucking firms and receivers to sign up for an expanded program on its DOT Web site, www.nyc.gov/trucks.
The initial pilot project tempted participants with incentive grants of $3,000 for carriers, $2,000 for receivers. Those will be discontinued, but the city believes the benefits realized by participants in the project will attract newcomers.
"We're going to continue to work with Rensselaer and expand the program and support policies that promote off-peak deliveries," Sadik-Khan said.
"This project really delivered the goods."
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