Bike-based urban logistics solutions

Cargo bike parked on street corner

Image from Unsplash by Markus Spiske

Urban logistics can be complex, which makes cost-effective and accessible solutions particularly appealing. One such example is cycle logistics.

Using bikes for urban logistics is a promising, sustainable response to ever-increasing on-demand economy. Furthermore, moving to cycle logistics offers additional benefits for companies, such as lower purchase and maintenance costs, as well as for cities. Cycle logistics improves road safety, reduces noise, and better uses public space.

Ensuring that bike-based solutions realise their full potential requires careful examination of all aspects that may influence their uptake. To this end, the ULaaDS project interviewed four companies that have successfully integrated bicycle-based logistics into their operations. The results are presented more comprehensively on the ULaaDS website (here). The following are some of the highlights:

  • Infrastructure: for bpost, the largest player in Belgium's post and parcel market, cycle logistics are ideal in areas with high parcel drop densities, and sufficient micro-hubs.
  • Legislation and regulation: the bpost transition to cycle logistics has been aided in areas with motorised vehicle access regulations.
  • Ambassadors: PostNL in the Netherlands found that their drivers were proud to make the switch from conventional vehicles to bikes, and thus became ambassadors for zero-emission transport.
  • Collaboration: Pedal Me in the U.K. has leveraged a partnership with bike manufacturer Urban Arrow to design bikes ideal for their logistics needs. This also allows them to work together to fine-tune the design in response to any challenges that arise (e.g. with respect to bike durability).
  • Standardisation: Urbike (Belgium) tries to consolidate orders to optimise bike logistics, but this requires standardisation of delivery boxes.

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