Parking/Loading Areas Management
In many city centers and business districts, parking spaces are very limited, which translates into trucks double-parking or spending considerable time circling a block waiting for a parking space (Jaller et al. 2012), and trucks extending into sidewalks and roadways while docking in undersized loading areas. This is not only an enforcement issue. Frequently, the number of parking spaces available is simply not enough to satisfy the needs of delivery trucks. On Manhattan Island in New York City, for example, there are 10 zip codes where the demand for parking from delivery trucks exceeds the linear capacity of the streets to accommodate them (Jaller et al. 2012). As a result, carriers are forced to double park and pay large amounts in parking fines. In New York City, carriers typically pay between $500 and $1,000 per truck per month in parking fines (Holguín-Veras et al. 2007; Holguín-Veras et al. 2008b). Furthermore, because the parking spaces are also available to other commercial vehicles, such as limos and service vehicles, the amount of net parking available to freight vehicles reduces. Although service trips are considered commercial, and refer to those trips in which the main purpose is to carry out a service activity at the premises, they do not share the same parking requirements as their freight counterparts. Service trips involve services such as maintenance, repair, document shredding, cleaning, and installations, among others. Because the amount of cargo or equipment that needs to be carried may be minimal, these trips do not necessarily need to park close to their destinations. In general, service trips also require longer service times making for longer use of the curb space for prolonged periods of time which prevents access for freight vehicles to conduct loading and unloading activities.
On-Street Parking and Loading
Roadways in dense cities or old inner-city areas are not designed to handle large traffic volumes and the on-street parking generated. Appropriate curb allocation is essential to reduce congestion and improve environmental conditions(Nourinejad et al. 2013). The main challenge is that the demand for curb space exceeds capacity because cars, buses, and freight vehicles all need access to the curb. From a strictly economic point of view, however, freight vehicles and buses should have first priority for curb space. Freight vehicles need to park close to their customers, as the cost of walking freight from truck to customers is very high; parking further away reduces the size of the loads drivers carry, all of which increases delivery and parking times. Moreover, freight vehicles produce more congestion than smaller passenger cars do, so it makes sense to get them off the roads. Similarly, fostering transit use requires that bus stops be strategically placed in high-demand locations, and that single-occupant vehicle use be discouraged by making it less convenient. Obviously however, political reasons may argue for exactly the opposite. The initiatives presented in this subsection deal with on-street parking and loading in a variety of ways.
Off-Street Parking and Loading
These initiatives address parking in areas other than on-the-streets.
A lack of parking, curb space, and/or loading facilities at establishments receiving freight, may require governmental agencies or planning organizations to mandate the use of staging areas. Such requirements should foster the development or implementation of on-site and off-street areas at businesses or facilities that regularly receive freight. However, there are locations where this may not be a feasible option; thus, the establishment of common loading areas for sites that are large traffic generators or for other multi-tenant facilities may be a viable option (Federal Highway Administration 2012b). Alternatively, municipalities might foster the development of nearby delivery or staging areas that could serve as urban transshipment platforms. These areas could be implemented at public or private parking lots, empty lots, or other spaces that could accommodate a number of freight vehicles to conduct loading and unloading activities. At these staging areas, cargo could be unloaded from the freight vehicles and loaded to trolleys, carts, or other vehicles for last mile distribution. In Bordeaux, France, nearby delivery areas have been established together with additional services such as dedicated personnel to assist in the dispatching of shipments. These areas can accommodate between three to five freight vehicles (about 30 meters wide) (BESTUFS 2007). The challenge involved in establishing these areas is securing the necessary space. The staging area design also needs to take into consideration possible conflicts with nearby residents.
This initiative is similar to the use of truck stops, rest areas, or parking facilities on highways, or other pieces of infrastructure. These facilities are designed and provided so that drivers can take mandatory or optional breaks to rest. The success of the facilities depends on their location, capacity, and other characteristics, such as availability of food, communication services, and other service facilities (New York Metropolitan Transportation Council 2009). The urban freight system also could benefit if similar facilities were constructed or allocated for freight vehicles on the fringes of metropolitan areas. Instead of being used as rest areas, these facilities would be available for vehicles to wait for their delivery times without obstructing the curbside or double-parking inside the metro area. The facilities could also be used as temporary staging or consolidation areas, where transshipments could be made without the need for urban consolidation centers (UCCs). In addition, such truck stops could be used by freight vehicles as parking locations to avoid peak hours for vehicles participating in programs such as off-hour deliveries (OHD).