Demand for deliveries of almost everything from ready-to-eat meals to home improvement items is on the rise.
The resulting demand on freight services, especially the ‘last mile’ that brings the service or product directly to customers, adds pressure to cities and neighbourhoods. Relying upon cars, vans and trucks for the last mile risks clogging up local places, adds to emissions and negatively impacts on health and wellbeing.
Sara Stace and Shifani Sood, from consultancy firm WSP Global, will provide case studies from around the world on success stories and ideas that can be applied in cities across Australia to enable an effective shift towards micromobility for the last mile.
They say delivering by micromobility is not the right option in all places. Success will depend on a city’s density, urban form, the operating environment, size and type of delivery, operator willingness and proximity to customers. But where these ingredients come together, last-mile freight is ripe for disruption to create better outcomes for cities and improved efficiencies for businesses.
Micromobility offers a smarter way to move freight in busy and dense city centres, where space to move and to park is increasingly at a premium. Key enablers that can help cities make the transition include:
- making it safer for people to move around by micromobility
- changing the built environment to facilitate safe and easy pick-up and drop-off from kerbsides and in buildings for people making deliveries by micromobility
- setting long-term policy direction to create an enabling environment for a transition to micromobility for last mile deliveries in city centres
- remoding deliveries from cars, vans and trucks to micromobility for the last mile in city centres
- testing ideas to promote last-mile deliveries by micromobility and scale up what works
This is particularly important in the context of bouncing back from the Covid-19 pandemic and a greater focus on creating better local places for people and businesses. Transitioning to micromobility is also an important way for cities to go net zero, necessary to meet global obligations confirmed at COP26 to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius.