Delivering the Goods: The Final 50 Feet

SDOT and the University of Washington’s Urban Freight Lab (UFL) have a partnership with the goal of improving goods delivery in Seattle. Two key goals have been identified early for the Final 50 Feet program, which looks at ways to improve delivery at the end of the supply chain, such as loading areas, traffic control and street design:

  1. Reducing truck time in a load/unload space in the city (aka “dwell time”).
  2. Minimizing failed first package deliveries. About 8-10% of first delivery attempts in urban areas are unsuccessful, creating more return trips.

Map of the study area by UFL

The urban goods delivery system includes both public and private facilities.  While street parking facilities are well documented in Seattle’s databases, off-street private facilities are not.

UFL researchers spent last autumn collecting data on off-street private goods delivery facilities in downtown Seattle. The team utilized SDOT’s data to begin developing a multi-layer map of truck load/unload locations in all 523 blocks of downtown including Belltown, the commercial core, Pioneer Square, International District, South Lake Union, and Uptown Urban Centers.

Top to Bottom: Closed loading dock on building face, secure freight loading bay. Photo courtesy of Jose Machado, UW

Over the next year, we will expand the data collection process to inventory off-street private facilities in First Hill and Capitol Hill.  We hope to continue the partnership with UFL to better understand peak hours for public load zones and alleys day-to-day, and thus inform how we manage urban goods delivery street space.