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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.
Student Thesis and Dissertations

Optimization Modeling Approaches to Evacuations of Isolated Communities

Publication Date: 2022

Isolated communities are particularly vulnerable to disasters caused by natural hazards. In many cases, evacuation is the only option to ensure the population’s safety. Isolated communities are becoming increasingly aware of this threat and demand solutions to this problem. However, the large body of existing research on evacuation modeling usually considers environments where populations can evacuate via private vehicles and by using an existing road infrastructure. These models are often not applicable to remote valleys and islands, where road connections can be disrupted or do not exist at all. The use of external resources is therefore essential to evacuate the population. How to systematically evacuate an isolated community through a coordinated fleet of resources has not yet been researched. This dissertation thesis addresses this knowledge gap by designing a new routing problem called the Isolated Community Evacuation Problem (ICEP) that optimally routes recovery resources between evacuation pick-up points and shelter locations to minimize the total evacuation time. The research presents derivations of the initial model for (a) emergency planning and (b) response purposes to give emergency planners and researchers tools to prepare for and react to an evacuation of an isolated community. For (a), a scenario-based two-stage stochastic program with recourse considers different emergency scenarios to select the optimal set of recovery resources to hold available for any evacuation emergency. Furthermore, the dissertation explores efficient structure-based heuristics to solve the problem quickly. For (b), the assumption of certainty over the size of the affected population at the time of evacuation is relaxed. Approaches from robust and rolling-horizon optimization are presented to solve this problem. Moreover, meta-heuristics are explored to solve the problem to optimality while overcoming the complexity of the problem formulation. Finally, an in-depth, real-world case study that was conducted in collaboration with first responders and emergency authorities on Bowen Island in Canada is presented to test and evaluate the applicability of the proposed models. This case study further informed the official evacuation plan of the island. This collaboration demonstrates the potential of full integration of the research approach with local emergency expertise from the affected area and highlights the data requirements that need to be met to maximize the use of the model.

Authors: Fiete Krutein

The Isolated Community Evacuation Problem with Mixed Integer Programming

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Publication: Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review
Volume: 161
Pages: 102710
Publication Date: 2022

As awareness of the vulnerability of isolated regions to natural disasters grows, the demand for efficient evacuation plans is increasing. However, isolated areas, such as islands, often have characteristics that make conventional methods, such as evacuation by private vehicle, impractical to infeasible. Mathematical models are conventional tools for evacuation planning. Most previous models have focused on densely populated areas, and are inapplicable to isolated communities that are dependent on marine vessels or aircraft to evacuate. This paper introduces the Isolated Community Evacuation Problem (ICEP) and a corresponding mixed integer programming formulation that aims to minimize the evacuation time of an isolated community through optimally routing a coordinated fleet of heterogeneous recovery resources. ICEP differs from previous models on resource-based evacuation in that it is highly asymmetric and incorporates compatibility issues between resources and access points. The formulation is expanded to a two-stage stochastic problem that allows scenario-based optimal resource planning while also ensuring minimal evacuation time. In addition, objective functions with a varying degree of risk are provided, and the sensitivity of the model to different objective functions and problem sizes is presented through numerical experiments. To increase efficiency, structure-based heuristics to solve the deterministic and stochastic problems are introduced and evaluated through computational experiments. The results give researchers and emergency planners in remote areas a tool to build optimal evacuation plans given the heterogeneous resource fleets available, which is something they have not been previously able to do and to take actions to improve the resilience of their communities accordingly.

Recommended Citation:
Krutein, K. F., & Goodchild, A. (2022). The isolated community evacuation problem with mixed integer programming. In Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review (Vol. 161, p. 102710). Elsevier BV.

Urban Delivery Company Needs and Preferences for Green Loading Zones Implementation: A Case Study of NYC

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Publication: Proceedings of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Transportation and Development Conference 2022: Transportation Planning and Workforce Development
Publication Date: 2022

(This project is part of the Urban Freight Lab’s Technical Assistance Program, where UFL contributes to the project by providing 1:1 match funds in terms of staff and/or research assistants to complete project tasks.)

Green Loading Zones (GLZs) are curb spaces dedicated to the use of electric or alternative fuel (“green”) delivery vehicles. Some U.S. cities have begun piloting GLZs to incentivize companies to purchase and operate more green vehicles. However, there are several questions to be answered prior to a GLZ implementation, including siting, potential users and their willingness to pay. We reviewed best practices for GLZs around the world, and surveyed goods delivery companies operating in New York City to collect such information for a future GLZ pilot. The findings suggest the best candidate locations are areas where companies are currently subject to the most parking fines and double parking. Companies expressed willingness to pay for GLZs, as long as deploying green vehicles in the city can offset other cost exposures. Respondents also selected several single-space GLZs spread throughout a neighborhood as the preferred layout.

Recommended Citation:
Maxner, T., Goulianou, P., Ranjbari, A., and Goodchild, A. (2022). "Studying Urban Delivery Company Needs and Preferences for Green Loading Zones Implementation: A Case Study of NYC", In Proceedings of ASCE Transportation and Development Conference (Forthcoming), Seattle, WA.

NYC Zero-Emissions Urban Freight and Green Loading Zones Market Research

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Publication Date: 2022

In an effort to reduce emissions from last-mile deliveries and incentivize green vehicle adoption, The New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) is seeking to implement a Green Loading Zone (GLZ) pilot program. A Green Loading Zone is curb space designated for the sole use of “green” vehicles, which could include electric and alternative fuel vehicles as well as other zero-emission delivery modes like electric-assist cargo bikes. To inform decisions about the program’s siting and regulations, this study was conducted by the University of Washington’s Urban Freight Lab (UFL) in collaboration with NYC DOT under the UFL’s Technical Assistance Program.

The study consists of three sources of information, focusing primarily on input from potential GLZ users, i.e., delivery companies. An online survey of these stakeholders was conducted, garnering 13 responses from 8 types of companies. Interviews were conducted with a parcel carrier and an electric vehicle manufacturer. Additionally, similar programs from around the world were researched to help identify current practices. The major findings are summarized below, followed by recommendations for siting, usage restriction and pricing of GLZs. It is important to note that these recommendations are based on the survey and interview findings and thus on benefits to delivery companies. However, other important factors such as environmental justice, land use patterns, and budgetary constraints should be considered when implementing GLZs.

Literature Review Findings

Green Loading Zones are a relatively novel approach to incentivizing electric vehicle (EV) adoption. Two relevant pilot programs exist in the United States, one in Santa Monica, CA and the other one in Los Angeles, CA. Both are “zero-emission” delivery programs, meaning alternative fuel vehicles that reduce emissions (compared to fossil fuel vehicles) are not included in the pilot’s parking benefits (dedicated spaces and free parking). Other cities including Washington, DC and Vancouver, Canada are also creating truck-only zones and dedicating parking to EVs in their efforts to reduce emissions. Bremen, Germany also has a similar program called an Environmental Loading Point.

Many cities in Europe are implementing low- or zero-emission zones. These are different than GLZs in that entire cities or sections of cities are restricted to vehicles that meet certain emissions criteria. London, Paris, and 13 Dutch municipalities are all implementing low-emission zones. These zones have achieved some success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions: in London, CO2 from vehicles has been reduced by 13 percent. Companies operating in those cities have opted to purchase cleaner vehicles or to replace trucks with alternative modes like cargo bikes. In addition to demonstrating similar goals as NYC DOT, these programs provide insights to the siting and structure of GLZs. Loading zones have been selected based on equity concerns, delivery demand, and commercial density. Every city in the literature review has installed specific signage for the programs to clearly convey the regulations involved.

Survey and interview Findings

A range of company types replied to the survey: parcel carriers (large shippers), small shippers, e-commerce and retail companies, freight distributors, a truck dealer, a liquid fuel delivery company, and a logistics NYC  association (answering on behalf of members). The majority of these companies will be increasing their fleet sizes over the next ten years, and most plan to increase the share of EVs in their fleets while doing so. A smaller share (4 of 13) also plans to increase their share of alternative fuel vehicles. The most cited reasons for increasing fleet size and green vehicle share are: 1) internal sustainability goals, 2) social responsibility, and 3) new vehicles/models coming to the market.

Green vehicle adoption is not without its challenges. For EV adoption specifically, companies identified three major barriers: 1) competition in the EV market, 2) electric grid requirements upstream of company-owned facilities, and 3) lack of adequate government-supported purchasing subsidies. To overcome these barriers, respondents would like larger or more government purchasing incentives and reduced toll or parking rates for EVs. However, the majority of companies also expressed a willingness to pay for GLZs at similar rates to other commercial loading zones.

As for area coverage, all respondents deliver to Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn. 11 of 13 deliver to Staten Island and the Bronx as well. All EV and cargo bike operators deliver to Manhattan, whereas only one EV operator and one cargo bike operator deliver to all five boroughs of NYC. Respondents deliver at all times of day, but the busiest times are between 9:00AM and 4:00PM (stated by 8 of 13 respondents). Peak periods are busiest for four companies in the morning (6:00AM-9:00AM) and six companies in the evening (4:00PM-9:00PM).

The interviews supported findings from the survey. Both interviewed companies have a vested interest in reducing their environmental footprint and plan to use or produce exclusively zero-emission vehicles by 2050 (carrier) or 2035 (manufacturer). However, they noted challenges to electrifying entire fleets for cities. Charging infrastructure needs to be expanded, but incentives are also needed (parking benefits, subsidies, expedited permitting) to make the market viable for many delivery companies.


The preceding findings informed four key recommendations:

  • GLZs should be made available to multiple modes: green vehicles and cargo bikes. Adequate curb space might be needed to accommodate multiple step-side vans plus a small vehicle and cargo bikes, but this should be balanced against curb utilization rates and anticipated dwell times to maximize curb use.
  • Explore piloting GLZs in Lower Manhattan and commercial areas of Midtown Manhattan; they could be the most beneficial locations for the pilot according to survey respondents.
  • The preferred layout for GLZs is several spaces distributed across multiple blocks.
  • DOT can charge for the GLZ use. It is recommended that rates not exceed current parking prices in the selected neighborhood, but some companies are willing to pay a modest increase over that rate to avoid parking tickets.


Recommended Citation:
Urban Freight Lab (2022). NYC Zero-Emissions Urban Freight and Green Loading Zones Market Research.

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.