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Seattle Zero Emissions Loading Zones and E-Cargo Bike Delivery

  • Seattle, Washington
  • Curb management planning
City of Seattle Department of Transportation
Related Services Curb Management

Freight and commercial goods are an important and growing part of the economy, but also a significant contributor to emissions and poor air quality. Cities are working to address this challenge by supporting zero emission urban goods movement, but there are barriers including policy, costs, route planning, and infrastructure.

The City of Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) set out on a research study to understand how to overcome these challenges to chart a path forward in support of zero emissions freight, with a focus on zero emissions loading zones and e-cargo bikes. To understand the structures necessary, SDOT and C40 cities (a network of mayors of nearly 100 world-leading cities collaborating to confront the climate crisis) hired Walker to develop an implementation plan for zero emissions loading zones and e-cargo bike delivery.

The City of Seattle has an ambitious goal that 30 percent of all commercial goods delivery be zero emissions by 2030. The City and C40 cities identified zero emissions loading zones and e-cargo bike delivery as important strategies for reaching its goal. The City needed a technical expert to explore the pathways to implement zero emissions loading zones and e-cargo bike deliveries.

Walker conducted a thorough policy analysis and research effort, one-on-one interviews and surveys with stakeholders, a peer review analysis of other cities who implemented zero emissions delivery programs, and a multi-day data collection effort tracking commercial delivery patterns throughout the City. Walker developed recommendations that identify pathways that the City can use to incentivize the private sector to make investments in their fleets and systems, while also ensuring that small to medium businesses are supported by City programs.

Based on Walker’s study, the City understands the necessary policy, administration, and engagement considerations to begin implementation of zero emission loading zones and e-cargo bike deliveries. Walker’s recommendations are accompanied by actionable implementation steps that the City can take. Walker’s study is a key element of the City’s Curbside Management 2023 Climate Plan. Each of Walker’s recommendations is estimated to eliminate between 10 and 30 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. The City has asked Walker to continue to help advise on implementation efforts.

Chrissy Mancini Nichols

National Director of Curb Management & New Mobility

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I wanted to take a moment and thank you all for your work on this effort! This project and final report will help guide our SDOT team as we look at innovative climate curb- space projects yet to be tested in Seattle and I know the information gathered over the past year will be critical to that work. Your guidance and expertise was a tremendous resource throughout the project.

Katherine RiceSeattle Department of Transportation

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