Cargo Bikes More Economical than Motor Vehicles for Last Mile Deliveries in Urban Areas

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By Charles Pekow — Pedaling for that last mile not only avoids creating pollution, congestion, and noise, it can be more economical than electric delivery for urban delivery. Or so a study in Paris suggests. “First and Last Miles by Cargo Bikes: Ecological Commitment or Economically Feasible? The Case of a Parcel Service Company in Paris”, a report published in Transportation Research Record Journal (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/360423364_First_and_Last_Miles_by_Cargo_Bikes_Ecological_Commitment_or_Economically_Feasible_The_Case_of_a_Parcel_Service_Company_in_Paris) examined 600,000 deliveries made over two months in the French capital and says that the bike beats the electric light commercial vehicle when near a hub in high-demand areas.

Cargo bikes are cleaner than trucks when moving goods from one place to another, especially short distances. Photo by Dave Iltis

The study notes that the conclusion applies with a high demand for deliveries and that the cost of microhubs can be a factor. It also notes that electric vehicles themselves don’t contribute to urban smog and that trucks will still be needed to deliver to the hubs. Cargo bikes also won’t work for oversize or overweight deliveries.

 

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