Urban Freight Movement and kubo

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Urban freight movement is a major problem. Approximately 350 pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists are killed each year in the US by large trucks. The Federal Highway Administration estimates 947,000 hours of vehicle delay each year from double-/improperly-parked trucks in urban areas, and companies like FedEx and UPS spend millions each year in parking tickets—a “necessary cost of business”. Is that cost actually necessary?

A European Union project, Cycle Logistics, estimates that 51% of freight in European cities could be moved via cargo bike, and 42% of private trips involving cargo could be made via bike. We recognize that American cities have different infrastructure from their European counterparts, but we see no reason why much urban freight movement – both commercial and personal – couldn’t happen via electric cargo scooter. This would have especially great impacts on commercial delivery, increasing safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists, while reducing pollution, traffic congestion, delivery times, and delivery costs.

What do you think?

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  • Gary Krohmer

    Its an interesting idea. My first reaction is to wonder how the two delivery models would compare with regard to the frequency with which the cargo would need to be replenished. Kubo has a relatively smaller cargo volume than does say a minivan. Thus the minivan driver would have a longer delivery route and so would need to make fewer detours back to the home terminal. So the minivan would spend a larger fraction of its time doing actual delivery whereas for a Kubo based delivery service, the Kubo driver would spend relatively more time making trips back to the terminal to get a new load to deliver.

    On the other side, the Kubo is a motorcycle and so is much more able to maneuver in congestion than is a minivan. Thus the Kubo driver would spend much less time impeded by traffic than would a minivan driver.

    I don’t know how these two competing effects would balance out, but in my mind, these would be the two tradeoffs.

    - Gary

    • Lit Motors

      True, though I perhaps didn’t fully articulate this idea: it’s not an either/or between vans and kubo, but the combination of the two. If each van had a scooter on the back, then the van could park in a legit parking spot and then use the scooter to make deliveries within a few block radius. It’s like a mobile hub-and-spoke system. Rather than tradeoffs, you get synergy!


      • Gary Krohmer

        Indeed – a good idea. If the van was a larger delivery vehicle, it might make sense to have perhaps multiple Kubo outriggers. Then as a hub, the van would actually employ a small team with the goal of providing efficient delivery to a moderate sized zone.This sounds like an idea worth developing a bit and then pitching to Federal Express or UPS,

  • Martin Penwald

    Let me correct that for you :

    « Approximately 350 pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists are killed each year in the US IN ACCIDENTS INVOLVING large trucks. »

    Your sentence implies a fact that is even denied by the DoT : when involved in crash, large trucks are less responsible for it than any other road users.

    In big cities, pedestrians can be VERY VERY stupid around large trucks (basic rule : if the truck move, don´t go near it. But a lot of people don´t get it).

    By the way, there is a difference between an 18-wheeler (which shouldn´t be send downtown in fact, but sometimes, there is no other option) and an UPS or FedEx van.

    However, the idea of creating a mobile hub with a van associated with a Kubo is very interesting.