Electric trike, electric bike, urban freight lab
Coaster Cycles’ Etrike suits an electrical cargo pod from BrightDrop. Both corporations are collaborating in a pilot program for last-mile supply in Seattle. (Seattle Neighborhood Hub Photos)

Seattle’s first neighborhood supply hub is now reside.

The hub, in a car parking zone close to the Space Needle, brings collectively corporations working in transportation, supply logistics and meals preparation to assist clear up the “last mile” downside — the expense and environmental value of the final leg of supply.

The downside is a spotlight of the University of Washington’s Urban Freight Lab, which estimates that simply the final 50 ft of supply accounts for 25-to-50% of transportation provide prices. The lab examines new methods to construction transportation methods by means of private-public partnerships. The neighborhood supply hub is its new pilot mission.

“Our goal is to make space to encourage experimentation,” mentioned Anne Goodchild, the lab’s director and a professor of civil and environmental engineering. “But that experimentation is going to be done by companies already working in this space.”

Anne Goodchild (proper) helps launch the Seattle Neighborhood Hub.

The hub serves as a supply level for vehicles, which offload parcels onto an electric-assist cargo trike or immediately right into a parcel locker. Goodchild envisions the hub not solely as an answer to the last-mile supply system, however as a neighborhood gathering place the place folks can seize a meal and socialize whereas choosing up their packages. Companies concerned within the mission embrace:

  • Coaster Cycles, a Missoula, Mont., startup that makes electric-assist cargo trikes. Their on-site trike will haul packages for the meal service HelloFresh and different corporations to the encircling neighborhood.
  • BrightDrop, a spinout of General Motors producing first-to-last mile merchandise. BrightDrop has made an electric-assist rolling parcel service that attaches to the trike and may disengage for hand pushing.
  • AxleHire, a logistics startup that gives route-optimization know-how for last-mile service. The firm will coordinate deliveries.
  • REEF, a Miami-based startup that expanded from managing parking heaps to offering infrastructure for neighborhood hubs. REEF manages the lot and operates a neighborhood kitchen on web site. Customers can now order a SoCal or NorCal Burrito from Man vs. Fries, a small chain that operates out of different REEF places within the U.S. The kitchen can be designed to companion with Seattle eating places, offering a small-footprint native possibility for supply.

The Seattle Department of Transportation is a companion on the mission, which dovetails with a program to foster cargo bike use and a 2030 aim to realize 30% zero-emission supply within the metropolis, mentioned Kelly Rula, the division’s New Mobility Manager.

“The concept of micro-hubs is really taking off internationally as a really exciting new experimental space,” mentioned Rula. She famous that New York City runs a cargo bicycle program with greater than 350 bikes. Amazon is a companion within the New York program, and is initiating a cargo bike program in London. In January 2021, there have been greater than 45,000 cargo bike deliveries in New York, in keeping with a metropolis analysis, and every bike saves seven tons of carbon dioxide per 12 months. Amazon is a companion on the Urban Freight Lab, although shouldn’t be concerned within the new hub mission.

The Seattle supply hub brings further providers along with cargo bike supply and, “is a great example of how one space can be used for a lot of different interesting uses,” mentioned Rula.

The parcel locker accepts deliveries from all carriers.

The mission will assist the the town perceive the infrastructure wanted to help new supply modes, mentioned Rula, who famous that cargo bikes presently don’t have license plates. As one other instance, the parcel locker, which accepts deliveries from all carriers, required its personal postal handle, mentioned Goodchild. The locker accepts deliveries from all carriers, and other people dwelling or working close by can join locker supply at belltownlockers.com.

The Urban Freight Lab might be monitoring the brand new mission by means of a collection of sensors, as an illustration assessing reductions in highway site visitors and the variety of parcels delivered to the locker. Researchers will estimate carbon dioxide financial savings in comparison with standard truck-based supply methods.

Delivery hubs have the potential to reinvigorate group inside an e-commerce supply system, mentioned Goodchild. Hubs will be built-in into the neighborhood, as a spot the place folks decide up their packages and purchase espresso from a stand or play with their youngsters at an hooked up park, she mentioned.

“It’s like a modern shopping center, or neighborhood store,” mentioned Goodchild of the idea. “It’s lower emissions, and it’s adapted to the new retail model, but it’s still a community benefit.”

The hub is positioned at 130 fifth Ave. N, in what some locals name the Uptown neighborhood.