Overnight Delivery Pilot Program Coming to D.C.

This spring, the D.C. Department of Transportation will start testing methods of persuading delivery companies and businesses to hook up between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. for deliveries, The Washington Post reports. The circling delivery trucks, blamed for clogging Washington streets by double-parking, will be encouraged to make deliveries overnight, when the roads are relatively clear.

The program will provide financial incentives to businesses who adopt the practice, and then presumably use extra cash to pay higher wages to workers receiving shipments overnight or to upgrade off-street loading docks to allow unmanned deliveries.

The test program will start in Georgetown, downtown, Adams Morgan, Capitol Hill, NoMa and the business district known as the Golden Triangle. Laura Richards, a transportation planner for the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) told the Washington Business Journal that more overnight deliveries will reduce traffic congestion, improve the flow of freight into and out of the city, and reduce truck emissions.

“People can look forward to fewer trucks on the road during peak hours,” Richards said. The biggest challenge will be to convince businesses to try something new, she continues.

DDOT estimates the annual cost of truck-related traffic congestion at $650 million with projections to get even worse. Between 2011 and 2040, truck volumes in the city are expected to grow by 70 percent for inbound traffic and an astounding 137 percent for outbound traffic.

Overnight deliveries would make businesses’ shipments more reliable and could allow some to reduce the inventory they keep on hand to cover for late or missed deliveries. The 3,5 year long program will be funded through a $150,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration and a $150,000 grant from DDOT, Richards said.

A similar project started in 2010 in New York City led to a successful off-hours delivery program. The test project is the District’s latest attempt to reduce traffic congestion from delivery trucks.


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