After-hours freight delivery could help reduce traffic congestion

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A recent study done by the Industrial and Engineering Systems Department at the University of Pretoria has determined that reducing the number of freight delivery vehicles operating in urban areas during daytime and peak traffic hours can reduce traffic congestion, delivery costs and carbon emissions. Senior lecturer, Wilna Bean, discussed the findings of this study which used a multi-agent transport simulation to investigate the potential impact on congestion should after-hours delivery of freight be implemented.

Bean’s study found that reducing the number of commercial vehicles delivering goods in urban areas during the day and peak hours could significantly reduce traffic congestion. After-hours deliveries could also mean a reduction in delivery costs and carbon emissions.

However, there are some disadvantages which include:

Possible unwillingness from freight receivers, who would need to be convinced of the benefits of after-hours deliveries and incentivised to opt in. Increased working hours for carriers, which could imply additional working hour costs and possibly, additional security.

Timeframes for after-hours deliveries would also need to be taken into consideration prior to implementation, considering that the early morning transportation of goods could result in additional safety risks.

While the above cons should be examined carefully, reducing traffic congestion, carbon emissions and delivery costs could be enormously beneficial to the economy as a whole.

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