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Freight and Bus Lane (FAB) Data Collection and Evaluation Plan (Route 40)

The Urban Freight Lab (UFL) was approached by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to complete a review of proposed evaluation criteria and propose a data collection plan in preparation for the implementation of a Freight and Bus Lane (FAB) Lane in Fall 2024 for King County Metro’s Bus Route 40.

This project would effectively produce the follow-on scope of work for the UFL to complete during the actual implementation (pre/post/post phase). UFL will build on the findings from the Urban Freight Lab’s Freight and Transit Lane Case Study completed in 2019. With the completion of the Route 40 TPMC project in Fall 2024, FAB lanes will be tested as a pilot in select locations and evaluated before permanent installation.


  • Refresh literature review on freight and transit lane studies
  • Meet with key stakeholders from SDOT and Metro to understand data collection tools and methodologies
  • Propose a technical evaluation plan for this pilot that includes data collection and metrics and communication strategies

Success Factors for Urban Logistics Pilot Studies

Publication: The Routledge Handbook of Urban Logistics
Publication Date: 2023

The last mile of delivery is undergoing major changes, experiencing new demand and new challenges. The rise in urban deliveries amid the societal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically affected urban logistics. The level of understanding is increasing as cities and companies pilot strategies that pave the way for efficient urban freight practices. Parcel lockers, for instance, have been shown to reduce delivery dwell times with such success that Denmark increased its pilot program of 2,000 lockers to 10,000 over the past two years. This chapter focuses on challenges faced during those pilots from technical, managerial and operational perspectives, and offers examples and lessons learned for those who are planning to design and/or run future pilot tests. On-site management proved to be critical for locker operations.

Recommended Citation:
Ranjbari, Andisheh & Goodchild, A & Guzy, E. (2023). Success Factors for Urban Logistics Pilot Studies. 10.4324/9781003241478-27.

Analysis of a Food Bank Home Delivery Program

Food security, defined as access at all times to nutritious food, is a necessary condition for human beings to thrive and have an active and healthy life. In Seattle, about 13 percent of adults experienced food insecurity. Moreover, food security is not equitably distributed across the population. Food insecurity is more common in households with young children, with single parents, with incomes below 185 percent of the poverty threshold, in Black and Hispanic populations, and in principal metropolitan areas. Hunger relief organizations, such as food banks, play a key role in redistributing food to those experiencing food insecurity. However, a share of the food-insecure population could not be reached by this system. In particular, people who are immobile, immunocompromised, and elderly are not able to access the food bank network. The University District Food Bank, serving the northeast neighborhoods of Seattle, started a home delivery program 10 years ago, where volunteers pick up groceries at the food bank and deliver them to households in need, and largely expanded it during the pandemic. While volunteers were initially performing deliveries using cars or vans, the program was expanded through a collaboration with the Cascade Bicycle Club, a non-profit bike advocacy organization.

For this work, the project team proposes a collaboration between young junior scholars at the Urban Freight Lab (UFL) with expertise in the study of last-mile urban distribution systems, the University District Food Bank, and the Cascade Bicycle Club. This grant will enable UFL researchers to perform preliminary research, to better understand the challenges in the last-mile distribution of food from food banks and identify operational improvements to increase the efficiency of the system.

Project Team Members:

  • Giacomo Dalla Chiara (PI): Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Urban Freight Lab
  • Travis Fried (Collaborator): Research Assistant, Urban Freight Lab
  • Maxwell Burton (Collaborator): PRP & Volunteer Community Engagement Project Manager, Cascade Bicycle Club
  • Joe Gruber (Collaborator): Executive Director, University District Food Bank

Evacuating Isolated Islands with Marine Resources: A Bowen Island Case Study

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Publication: International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Volume: 72
Publication Date: 2022

Inhabited islands are susceptible to natural hazards, such as wildfires. To avoid disasters, preventative measures and guidelines need to be in place to strengthen community resilience. If these fail, evacuation is often the only choice. However, island evacuation is a vastly understudied problem in both research and practice, particularly for islands without permanent road connections to the mainland that require marine evacuation. Multiple vessel trips are necessary to evacuate the population from suitable access points, which previous studies did not entertain. Furthermore, most existing studies either focus on evacuations from an academic, or from a government perspective. Instead, this paper presents a collaborative approach. It applies a recently developed evacuation routing model that optimizes the evacuation plan for Bowen Island in Canada through minimizing the expected evacuation time across disaster scenarios. These were designed with the participation of a broad range of stakeholders, from local residents and volunteer groups to agencies from all levels of government and companies, which integrates both academic and practical perspectives to maximize solution quality. Different options for fleet sizes, staging locations and scenarios were considered. The results show that the optimized evacuation time for Bowen Island varies between 1 and 8 h, as it strongly depends on the disaster scenario, the evacuation fleet, and can be accelerated by temporary staging areas. The suitability of the approach for evacuation studies can be confirmed through the identification of key improvements for increased community resilience and the inclusion of the results in the official Bowen Island evacuation plan.

Authors: Fiete KruteinDr. Anne Goodchild, Jennifer McGowan
Recommended Citation:
Krutein, K. F., McGowan, J., & Goodchild, A. (2022). Evacuating isolated islands with marine resources: A Bowen island case study. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 72, 102865.

Biking the Goods: How North American Cities Can Prepare for and Promote Large-Scale Adoption

With the rise in demand for home deliveries and the boom of the e-bike market in the U.S., cargo cycles are becoming the alternative mode of transporting goods in urban areas. However, many U.S. cities are struggling to decide how to safely integrate this new mode of transportation into the pre-existing urban environment.

In response, the Urban Freight Lab is developing a white paper on how cities can prepare for and promote large-scale adoption of cargo cycle transportation. Sponsors include freight logistics providers, bicycle industry leaders, and agencies Bosch eBike Systems, Fleet Cycles, Gazelle USA, Michelin North America, Inc., Net Zero Logistics, the Seattle Department of Transportation, and Urban Arrow.

The Urban Freight Lab is internationally recognized as a leader in urban freight research, housing a unique and innovative workgroup of private and public stakeholders and academic researchers working together to study and solve urban freight challenges. The Urban Freight Lab has previously worked on evaluating, studying, and deploying cargo cycles in Asia and the U.S, and is recognized as an expert leader in North America on cargo cycle research.

The objectives of the white paper are the following:

  1. Define and understand what types of cargo bikes exist in North America, their main features, how they are operated, and the infrastructure they need.
  2. Identify opportunities for and challenges to large-scale adoption of cargo cycles in North American cities.
  3. Learn from case studies of U.S. cities’ approaches to regulating and promoting cargo cycles.
  4. Provide recommendations for how cities can safely recognize, enable and encourage large-scale adoption of cargo bikes, including infrastructure, policy, and regulatory approaches.

The Seattle Neighborhood Delivery Hub Pilot Project: An Evaluation of the Operational Impacts of a Neighborhood Delivery Hub Model on Last-Mile Delivery

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Publication Date: 2021

As one of the nation’s first zero-emissions last-mile delivery pilots, the Seattle Neighborhood Delivery Hub served as a testbed for innovative sustainable urban logistics strategies on the ground in Seattle’s dense Uptown neighborhood. Providers could test and evaluate new technologies, vehicles, and delivery models — all in service of quickly getting to market new more fuel- and resource-efficient solutions, reducing emissions and congestion, and making our cities more livable and sustainable.

These technologies are also an important part of the City of Seattle’s Transportation Electrification Blueprint, including the goal of transitioning 30% of goods delivery to zero emissions by 2030.

Recommended Citation:
Urban Freight Lab (2021). The Seattle Neighborhood Delivery Hub Pilot Project: An Evaluation of the Operational Impacts of a Neighborhood Delivery Hub Model on Last-Mile Delivery.

Biking for Goods: A Case Study on the Seattle Pedaling Relief Project

1. Introduction
One of the disruptions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic was the reduction of in-store shopping, and the consequent increase in online shopping and home deliveries. However, not everyone had equal access to online shopping and home-delivery services. Customers relying on food banks were forced to shop in-store even during the pandemic. In 2020, the Cascade Bicycle Club started the Pedaling Relief Project (PRP) – a not-for-profit home delivery service run by volunteers using bikes to pick up food at food banks and deliver to food bank customers, among other services.

The Urban Freight Lab collaborates with the Cascade Bicycle Club (CBC) to study and improve PRP operations. For this work, students in Prof. Anne Goodchild’s Transportation Engineering course on Transportation Logistics (CET 587) are undertaking a case study: to analyze the transport and logistics system of the Pedaling Relief Project and provide recommendations for how to improve operations.

2. Background
2.1. Food rescue at a glance
An estimated 94,500 tons of food from Seattle business establishments end up in compost and landfills each year, while many members of our community remain food insecure. The process of food rescuing consists of the gleaning of edible food from business establishments – called donor businesses such as grocery stores, restaurants, and commissary kitchens – that otherwise would enter the waste stream and be re-distributed to local food programs. Hunger relief agencies, also referred to as food banks, are non-profit organizations that collect rescued food, either directly from businesses or through food rescue distributors (such as Food Lifeline or Northeast Harvest) and re-distribute it to the community through meal programs, walk-ins, and pop-up food pantries, student backpack programs, among others.

Read more about the Seattle food rescue system in SCTL’s report (2020) on “Improving Food Rescue in Seattle: What Can Be Learned from a Supply Chain View?

2.2. Pedaling Relief Project
In 2020 the Cascade Bicycle Club started the Pedaling Relief Project (PRP), a volunteer-based program that collaborates with local food banks to offer three main types of services — (1) grocery delivery, (2) food rescue, (3) little free pantry restocking — coordinating a network of volunteers on bikes.

  1. Grocery delivery (GD) service consists of picking up grocery bags from food banks and performing delivery routes, distributing food to food bank customers that asked for home delivery services.
  2. Food rescue (FR) services support the existing distributors by picking up food at business establishments and carrying rescued food to local food banks.
  3. Little free pantries restocking (LFPR) services consist of picking up food at local food banks and carrying it to neighborhood micro pantries –containers placed on local streets and open to everyone to store food from donors to whoever needs it. Learn more about the Little free pantries project on

Volunteers use their own bikes, with some cargo carry capacity, or can request a bike trailer or cargo bike from the Cascade Bicycle Club.

2.3. Cargo Bikes
Cargo bikes are two/three/four-wheel bikes with some cargo-carrying capacity. They are increasingly used as an alternative mode to trucks and vans to transport goods in urban areas. Cargo bikes are often supported by an electric motor that assists the driver when pedaling. Compared to internal combustion engine vehicles, cargo bikes do not produce tailpipe emissions and they consume less energy than electric vans (Verlinghieri et al., 2021). They also offer several operational advantages: they are more agile in navigating urban road traffic, they can use alternative road infrastructure such as bike lanes and sidewalks to drive and park, they can park closer to their delivery destination, reducing walking distances and parking dwell times (Dalla Chiara et al., 2020).

3. Project instructions

The CBC provided access to anonymous data on the PRP operations for the exclusive use of the 2022 CET 587 course student cohort final projects. Students are asked to individually perform empirical research using the provided data and/or self-collected data on the PRP operations with the following objectives:

  • Empirically analyze and describe PRP operations.
  • Provide recommendations on what actions can be taken to improve PRP operations.

Projects will meet the following two requirements:

  • Use the provided data and/or self-collected and/or publicly sourced data to perform empirical analysis
  • Provide justified and concrete recommendations on how to improve the PRP.
  • Complete deliverables 1 and 2 (see below), which consist of 2 presentations, a project proposal, and a final project report.

Project progress timeline and deliverables:

Weeks Progress & Deliverables
1-2 Become familiar with R language programming; PRP background and data
3 CBC gives a guest lecture about PRP
4-5 Project proposal; 2-minute lightning talk about the project proposal
Deliverable 1: 1-page project proposal
6-10 Implement proposed methodology and perform research
11 Each student will give a 15-minute presentation of the main results of the project
Deliverable 2: Final report
The following are potential project directions:
  • Analyze current routes performed by volunteers. How can they be improved? Get the work done more quickly, or with fewer bikes?
  • Analyze data from little free pantries restocking. Collect additional data on the use of Little Free Pantries by manual observations or by installing sensors in a few of them. Can we model demand and supply for food donations?
  • Collect and analyze GPS data by signing up and performing some of the PRP routes yourself. What type of infrastructure do cargo bikes need and how does street and curb use behavior differ between cargo bikes and vans? What can the city do to better support this type of activity?
  • Analyze volunteers’ behaviors data. Is it possible to model the supply of volunteers? Can you simulate different scenarios of volunteer supply?
  • Develop your own direction with approval.

Students will be provided with a base dataset on PRP operations. Students are encouraged to use other datasets self-collected or from public data sources (e.g. check out the SDOT Open Data Portal), to share ideas in class and among each other, to use as much as possible class time, guest lectures and office hours to ask questions and share ideas.

1: 1-page project proposal and 2-minute lightning talk describing motivation, project objective(s) and research question(s), proposed methodology (data to use/collect, methods to implement), and expected results.

2: Final report and 10-minute presentation describing data used, including sample size and sample statistics, how data collection was performed, empirical analysis performed using data and results from the analysis, and conclusions, key findings, and key recommendations.

Technical Report

Improving Food Rescue in Seattle: What Can Be Learned from a Supply Chain View?

Download PDF  (0.68 MB)
Publication Date: 2020

Seattle is one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities, presenting both opportunities and challenges for food waste. An estimated 94,500 tons of food from Seattle businesses end up in compost bins or landfills each year—some of it edible food that simply never got sold at restaurants, grocery stores, hospitals, schools or dining facilities. Meantime, members of our community remain food insecure. It makes sense for food to feed people rather than become waste.

This is why Seattle Public Utilities continues to support efforts toward food rescue, where edible food that would otherwise enter the waste stream is gleaned from local businesses and re-distributed to local food programs. SPU has joined other cities, states, and regional coalitions in committing to cutting food waste by 50 percent from 2015 by 2030, leading with prevention and rescue.

Since 2018, SPU has engaged more than 80 stakeholders from 50-plus organizations in a Food Rescue Innovation Initiative—a collaborative effort to better understand food rescue challenges and explore potential solutions. The initiative surfaced transportation and logistics as one of the key challenges.

To that end, SPU asked the University of Washington Supply Chain Transportation and Logistics Center (SCTL) to conduct foundational research into the logistics of food rescue in Seattle. This research forms part of SPU’s broader work to identify barriers to making food rescue operations in Seattle as effective and efficient as possible—and work toward solutions to overcome those barriers with both the private and public sector. The SCTL research includes interviews with a representative cross-section of food suppliers, food bank agencies, meal program providers and nonprofit partners.

With this document, SPU seeks to inform the myriad businesses that donate food (and by doing so, reduce their waste costs); the wide range of nonprofit hunger relief partners who collect and redistribute donated food to community members in need; local government; and locally based companies with supply chain logistics expertise that could contribute solutions to this complex puzzle.


Recommended Citation:
Urban Freight Lab (2020). Improving Food Rescue in Seattle: What Can Be Learned from a Supply Chain View?

Urban Freight in 2030

There are many questions to answer about the future of urban delivery. How changes and developments in the industry will ultimately play out cannot really be predicted, but the Urban Freight Lab, a group of experienced professionals with deep and up-to-date knowledge of their subject, representing a broad range of urban freight stakeholders is best suited to envision the future. The Urban Freight in 2030 project will explore emerging urban freight trends, their impacts on local and global sustainable development, and propose Urban Freight Lab’s future course of action.

Objective: This project proposes to use the expertise of the Urban Freight Lab members and partners, supported by up-to-date research and subject specialists, to create a shared vision of the future of urban delivery in 2030. The work will produce vision documents to be shared publicly, outlining and detailing the Urban Freight Lab’s vision of the future of urban freight.

Summary of Project Tasks:

Task 1: Generate a candidate list of influential variables.

Task 2: UFL members provide feedback and democratically select four variables for future discussion.

Task 3: Schedule one category of variables discussion at each Urban Freight Lab quarterly meeting.

Task 4: Based on the discussions described in Task 3, UFL staff draft a number of public-facing documents that lay out our shared vision for Urban Freight 2030. The format of these products will be discussed during the course of the project.

Task 5: UFL members will review and revise the vision documents. When all members agree, it will be distributed publicly as a joint publication of the UFL research team and membership.

Technical Report

Route Machine: UW Medicine Department of Medicine Courier Services

Download PDF  (1.85 MB)
Publication Date: 2019

The goal of this report is to survey the current state of practice of UW Medicine Department of Laboratory Medicine Courier Services in order to evaluate potential software(s) that can be implemented to fill information gaps needed to effectively and efficiently make informed decisions. The report describes the high-level goals and decision scope of the route machine, observations of the current state, evaluation criteria and ‘route machine’ options.

The information in this report can be used to inform:

  • What data insights (indicators) might be helpful for strategizing courier routing decisions and communicating information to leadership
  • Potential improvement strategies and what they might look like in implementation
  • Suitability of various data collection, visualization, and analytical tools, and off-the-shelf packages

This information provides the UW Department of Laboratory Medicine Courier Services the information needed to select tools(s), and general data insights the ‘route machine’ for implementation.

The rest of this document is organized as follows:

  • Objectives and decision scope of the ‘route machine’
  • Observations of the current routes
  • A list of key-performance indicators
  • Potential strategies for improving routes
  • Recommendations
  • Screenshots of Dashboard Prototypes and WorkWaze
Recommended Citation:
Greene, Chelsea and Anne Goodchild (2019). Route Machine: UW Medicine Department of Medicine Courier Services.