September 19, 2018

City Tech Collaborative, Here Technologies, UPS, Microsoft, and Accenture are launching a pilot targeting urban traffic congestion caused by rapidly proliferating consumer deliveries.

Delivery Congestion Reduction will gauge consumers’ willingness to accept small changes to when and where their packages are delivered. Data scientists at HERE will model whether those changes can reduce city congestion exacerbated by delivery trucks.

With the explosion of online shopping, customer demand for ever-faster delivery is expanding, with one-day and even same-day home delivery available in many cities, including Chicago. That means more trucks than ever stopping on city streets to make deliveries to specific locations at specific times.

This initiative marks the first time UPS package-delivery data will be analyzed in combination with HERE real-time and historical traffic data.  The pilot will test whether small changes to consumer-initiated delivery times can steer delivery vehicles away from congested areas or limit the number of times they have to stop in these areas.

But simply proving that delivery location and time consolidation can improve traffic doesn’t mean consumers will accept the changes. To address this, the team is working with the Civic User Testing (CUT) Group, a program managed by the City Tech Collaborative, to get Chicago residents’ feedback. Civic User testers will take surveys to measure their willingness to accept delivery changes and the effect of potential incentives on how readily they might agree to such changes. No individual consumers will be tracked during this pilot; rather consumer data will be analyzed in aggregate.

Through this pilot, the team hopes to develop practical insights into the relationships between package delivery and urban congestion, and tangible ways to incentivize shifts in consumer behavior that can lead to a more streamlined approach to package delivery as well as reduced congestion. “We are excited to kick off this pilot, which highlights our mission of bringing together organizations to improve urban life,” said Brenna Berman, executive director of City Tech, which transforms cities into testbeds for new ideas.

“The prospect of improving urban congestion by generating new models and insights based on combining a diverse set of data streams is compelling,” said Olga Selina, Vice President of Planning and Innovation Enablement at HERE, the location platform and high-definition mapping company. “We look forward to applying our expertise in data analytics to help cities, logistics companies, and retailers develop new approaches to package delivery and congestion management.”

The team is also partnering with Accenture for project management support and expertise on related topics including city management, government/ regulatory concerns, logistics and sustainability.

The pilot grew from the City Tech Collaborative’s urban logistics workshop held in September 2017.

About City Tech
City Tech transforms cities into testbeds for new ideas. We remake essential city services and infrastructure using advanced technology, and then expand these solutions to other cities. With our partners, we are diverting rainwater from overloaded sewer systems, easing subway congestion during large events, and launching a digital directory of public health services in Chicago.