Our online orders increase traffic and pollution: are there alternatives? | Trends

Our online orders increase traffic and pollution: are there alternatives? | Trends


The immediacy makes us more and more demanding. According to the last Annual Ecommerce Study of IAB Spain, the online shopper looks for faster and faster deliveries, an element that is also crucial to re-order in a specific virtual store. Almost 50% of e-commerce users say that the delivery times are, together with the price, one of the main reasons for its high satisfaction.

Therefore, it is not strange that the platforms of ecommerce they compete with each other for offering express services, something that not only is changing consumer behavior, but also affects urban mobility.

Not in vain, the traditional parcel services for individuals and the usual daily transport of goods destined to supply the physical establishments of a city – supermarkets, bars and all kinds of commercial premises – every time more vehicles are added whose mission is to deliver an order at the customer's own door in the shortest time possible.

This is corroborated Leticia Martín Santiago, Deputy Director of Communication, Brand and Customer Services of Correos Express, the urgent parcel company of the Correos Group: "In our case, the deliveries of online stores to individuals as well as those from company to company, which also need our services, are growing. Waiting to close 2018, our activity in shipments is already 23% higher than in 2017. "

How does this increase in traffic in the cities and in possible problems such as traffic jams and noise and environmental pollution? Francisco José López Carmona, general director of Management and Surveillance of the Circulation of the Madrid City Council, tells EL PAÍS Retina that the consistory is "aware" that the impact of this activity is "enormously relevant", although the information available is of general nature and does not single out the effects of online order deals.

But the new Sustainable Mobility Ordinance for the capital, in effect since last October, incorporates Master lines for merchandise with measures that include the authorization of new loading and unloading areas in residential areas for home distribution, the environmental regulation of the urban distribution of merchandise (which favors less polluting vehicles, with standards such as those applicable in Central Madrid) or the possibility of logistical use of the public car parks of municipal ownership for the last mile distribution, that is, the last section before reaching the final destination.

The challenge of the last mile

Barcelona has similar measures that are adjusted according to the needs expressed in the work group of Urban Distribution of Goods, which is part of the Pact for Mobility created just twenty years ago. According to Adrià Gomila, director of Mobility Services of Barcelona City Council, these meetings are already attended by local companies dedicated to the distribution of online orders such as Trèvol missatgers, Vanapedal, AECOC, Catalonia Logistics and Uno Logística, although it is true that until now they have not raised specific requirements for its activity, so they seem to adapt to existing options, among which five stand out: the management of loading and unloading areas through DUM area, a app that transporters must have installed on their mobile devices; the establishment of multipurpose lanes that allow loading and unloading at certain times; the opening until 11:00 am of pedestrian zones for the distribution of goods; the granting of permits for nightly discharge; and the creation of distribution platforms to store orders whose final delivery is made with a smaller, quieter and ecological vehicle.

Traffic jam in Barcelona

To promote this last measure, during the last few years, Barcelona City Council has launched two pilots with the construction of logistic microplatforms at the Estación de Francia and at the Mercado del Ninot. Gomila points out that the first one, which is managed by the company Vanapedal, is the most consolidated. Proof of this is that last November that microplatform made 14,470 deliveries with 13 tricycles that deal with the distribution in the last mile.

"The challenge is to extend this type of distribution to other areas of the city, but we do not intend 100% of the goods to go through these micro-platforms, but instead combine the measures we offer to achieve an effective distribution that favors economic activity at the same time that minimizes the impact that this activity can have on other uses of the city, "says Gomila, who acknowledges that his team has reflected on the impact of online express orders on urban mobility, but that they lack information for to be able to evaluate it in conditions.

Even so, he ventures to suggest actions supramunicipal that could reduce occupation in cities and control pollution in the event that users continue to demand their deliveries with more urgency: "If there is a lot of express delivery, the impact on the community is higher, so the companies ecommerce they could encourage other options that make it possible to group loads, so that urgent orders that normally consist of a single article are limited to when there really is a need ".

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