As the logistics and transportation sector adapts to the latest trends such as the rise of e-commerce, it is encountering challenges that are increasingly difficult to ignore. One of these is traffic congestion and air pollution due to CO₂ emissions, and municipalities are already starting to implement measures in this regard.
One of the most relevant solutions is the use of bicycles for last mile distribution or known as Cyclologistics. Cyclologistics consists of strategies that seek to promote the use of bicycles and other sustainable mobility vehicles to reduce the carbon footprint. However, in order to be successfully applied to cities, certain requirements must be met to facilitate its implementation and use.
If you want to learn more about the keys needed to boost cycling, read on:
Identify areas with high delivery density
It is one of the first steps to be taken before implementing other strategies that promote cycling and involve changes in the city's infrastructure. To do so, it is necessary to have information that can be provided by logistics operators or parcel services.
From residential neighborhoods to commercial districts, any of these areas can fall within the delivery "heat map". This will make it much easier to design efficient delivery routes for sustainable mobility vehicles using a route optimizer.
Installing Urban Hubs
It is undoubtedly one of the most indispensable elements for the promotion of cycling, since, without them, delivery with bicycles and other light vehicles is not possible. This is because most last-mile distribution starts from logistics centers located in industrial parks on the outskirts of large cities. Therefore, without the presence of logistics hubs, heavier vehicles such as vans are needed for deliveries.
But it is not only a matter of installing urban hubs per se, but also of carefully studying the strategic points of the city where an urban hub and its fleet of bicycles would reach their maximum potential. To do this, it is necessary to take into account the volume of deliveries by zones, the traffic on the roads, other streets that are difficult to access for larger vehicles, etc.
Collaboration between public entities and private companies
In recent years, several companies and startups have emerged with very interesting proposals to promote cycling in last mile distribution, such as Washa Logistics. However, in order to carry out their proposals, it is essential to have the collaboration of public entities.
From municipalities to certain institutions focused on urban mobility, close collaborations should be established to give the green light to cycling projects. Particularly, if the initiative requires some changes in public infrastructures, such as more parking places for light vehicles.
Improving cycling infrastructure
It is common for larger cities to have several circulation zones with approximately bike lanes. However, there are cities that lag a bit behind in the number of lanes, so cyclists are obliged, according to Spanish regulations, to ride on the right side of the traffic lanes. This lack of adaptation of roads for cycling can slow down distribution and make the roads more unsafe for delivery drivers.
To do this, it is necessary to identify the areas with the highest bicycle traffic and analyze the best ways to implement the lanes without affecting the circulation of other vehicles. With such improvements, delivery vehicles will circulate on safer and more efficient roads, enhancing cycling.
In addition to more bike lanes, there are also parking spaces for bicycles and other light vehicles. This means that delivery drivers will have more parking spaces at their disposal to deliver orders.
Establishing incentives and public policies
In recent years, authorities are starting to establish low-emission zones and limiting the entry of heavier or polluting vehicles with the aim of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. It is therefore essential that they also establish incentives and public policies to facilitate the promotion of cycling.
Such incentives may include subsidies, economic bonuses or tax reductions that facilitate the transition from the use of fuel vehicles to the acquisition of light vehicles for sustainable mobility. In addition, in order to strengthen the use of bicycles for both delivery and personal use, it is advisable to promote the use of this type of vehicles with road safety education campaigns and programs.
Cycling is becoming a very attractive trend for urban logistics and last mile distribution because of the many advantages it offers: reduced emissions and more efficient delivery routes. However, it needs to form a close collaboration with municipalities and other public entities to, if necessary, adapt public roads and facilitate as much as possible the delivery with sustainable mobility vehicles.
At Hedyla we work with customers with use cases focused on parcel and delivery to focus delivery routes by zones in order to save time and deliver excellent quality of service.
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