NEW YORK—City officials are looking to reduce congestion on busy streets by using delivery trucks to transport their goods at night when the streets are relatively quiet.
An initial pilot test was conducted by the city's Department of Transportation, that found that companies that used trucks between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. rather than at peak hours reduced costs, reduced congestion, and had an easier time finding parking. The federally-funded program took place last October.
Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and other officials made an announcement of their findings on Thursday and encouraged more companies to try nighttime deliveries.
“Traffic is much lighter at night and there is not as much competition for a space,” said Sadik-Khan.
Thus far, 25 businesses, including Foot Locker, Sysco, Whole Foods Market, and eight trucking companies, took part in the pilot experiment, which Sadik-Khan said is the first of its kind in the nation.
“Deliveries were on time and didn't contribute to congestion,” she said, while standing in front of a delivery truck on 14th Street in Manhattan.
In some instances, travel speeds for the nighttime delivery trucks experienced an improvement in speed by as much as 75 percent as well as a reduction in parking tickets. Parking tickets for each delivery truck exceeds $1,000 a month on average and nighttime delivery significantly reduced those fines, the Department of Transportation found.
There are more than 100,000 freight deliveries made in Manhattan on a daily basis and the bulk of that, or 80 percent, is wholesale, retail, and food deliveries, which generally do not require daytime delivery. On average, delivery routes averaged 48 minutes faster overall.
Joe Killeen, a manager at New Deal Logistics, said that the “expansion of off-hour deliveries is a smart business decision” because curb space is very limited. Any “attempt to keep traffic moving during … normal hours will never be sufficient to meet the need,” Killeen added.