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Innovation in the Urban Last Mile

Urban city centers are growing in population, and the density is increasing. As more and more people crowd into these cities, the streets become busier and busier. To combat this problem, many urban centers are investing in programs for rentable bikes and scooters available throughout the center of these cities for people to utilize. These scooters and bikes are signed out at dedicated points and can be used for people to move throughout the city center without the need for large vehicles. For many, these options are far more economical than owning or renting a car and provide a quick and easy option to move around the city.

So if moving people throughout the city centers no longer requires large vehicles, could we do the same with freight? Leading distribution companies like UPS say 'yes'! In Toronto, UPS is testing a pilot program of freight bikes which can be used to deliver packages and parcels throughout the city center without the need for large trucks. DHL is developing micro-depots for delivering packages and parcels from a central location in urban centers to reduce the need for large delivery trucks in city centers. Even the new Amazon Scout delivery robot can be used to deliver packages in dense urban areas without the need for large vehicles.

Freight trucks are essential to move products between city centers and will be essential for highway transport for the foreseeable future. But in the cities, where density and small streets make maneuvering difficult, it's time we start investing in better options to get our items across the last mile.

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