Source: adapted from Interface Transport (2002), CERTU, Study Report.
Urban morphology and density are important factors behind the context in which urban freight distribution systems operate. A salient problem relates to parking availability for deliveries. A sample of large French cities revealed a set of characteristics in the delivery of freight in central areas. Considering the short duration (a third taking less than 5 minutes) and the large number of deliveries a driver has to undertake, parking locations directly adjacent to the point of delivery are preferred, even if specifically designed delivery areas may be available in proximity. This is particularly the case if the size of the delivery involves several trips between the vehicle and the store.
It is therefore not surprising to realize that two-thirds of the parking of delivery vehicles are done in infraction with municipal regulations since deliveries take place at locations used by private cars and public transit vehicles:
- About 50% of all deliveries are made double-parked while another 20% of parking infringements are either made on the sidewalk, in restricted areas (bus stops, fire hydrants), or at pedestrian crossings. Deliveries made by double parking are particularly disruptive since they bloc a street lane in high-density areas, seriously impairing circulation. In high-density areas, even if curbside parking would be available at the moment of the delivery, the driver may be reluctant to use it for the fear of having his vehicle trapped afterward by another double-parked vehicle.
- Only 12% of deliveries are made using an available sidewalk parking space, implying that parking space available at the moment of the delivery is in short supply.
- Another 9% of deliveries take place in pedestrian-only streets where deliveries are permitted at a certain time of the day. The remaining deliveries are done in designated street delivery areas (4%) or in private loading bays (3%).
Providing additional delivery areas is problematic since deliveries tend to occur at similar time periods.