Using $200,000 in grants from the Federal Highway Administration, New York City and Pensacola, Florida, will study shifting freight delivery and pickups to off-peak hours, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced this week.
Pilot projects in both cities funded by the DOT under its Surface Transportation Research, Development and Deployment Program will explore the possibility of allowing cities facing traffic congestion problems alternatives to daytime gridlock, working initially with large retailers and food companies to research and test the off-hour delivery of goods.
“I’ve talked to people around the country and they have told me they are tired of spending hours stuck in traffic – they want their transportation problems solved,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “If successful in these cities, this approach can be applied to other areas around the country, cutting congestion, commute times and the costs to businesses.”
The studies will determine how freight deliveries made outside of peak and rush hours, when there is less highway traffic, can save carriers time and money, improve air quality and ultimately create more livable cities. The pilot project funding will help businesses adjust operation schedules to accommodate off-hour shipments and assist distributors as they reconfigure routes and supply chains.
“The problem of daytime truck traffic is well-known to any major city in the United States, and it’s time for new solutions,” Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau said.
The funding will be split equally between Florida and New York, with $100,000 awarded to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, and $100,000 awarded to the Florida Department of Transportation to partner specifically with the Sacred Heart Health System, exploring the concept of off-hour freight deliveries at its Pensacola medical campus.
This year the DOT released its study “Beyond Traffic,” which estimates that by 2040 the amount of freight moving in the U.S. will grow by 45 percent. Foxx emphasized President Barack Obama's administration’s plan to address the infrastructure deficit with the GROW AMERICA Act, a six-year surface transportation reauthorization proposal providing $18 billion for targeted investments in freight.