Cargo bikes can deliver faster than vans with massive benefits

Pedal Me cargo bike

Cargo bikes can deliver goods in cities faster than vans, removing tonnes of greenhouse gas and easing congestion at the same time, according to a new study by climate charity Possible and the University of Westminster’s Active Travel Academy.

Day after dreary day in cities around the world, delivery vans shake and sputter their way through city streets around the world delivering parcel after parcel. Spewing carbon emissions into the environment, snarling traffic by parking here, there, and everywhere including, let’s face it, more than a few bike lanes.

A new study in the UK demonstrates the incredible utility of cargo bikes as a new model for city deliveries.

The study is entitled the Promise of LowCarbon Freight. It compares deliveries by using GPS data from routes taken by Pedal Me cargo bikes in central London to traditional delivery vans.

According to the report, there are 213,100 vans which, when parked outside, occupying around 2,557,200 square meters of road space.

“We find that the service performed by the Pedal Me freight cycles is an average of 1.61 times faster than the one performed by van,” the study read.

If 10 percent of traditional van deliveries were replaced by cargo bikes it would divert 133,300 tonnes of CO2 and 190.4 kg of NOx per year, not to mention the reduction in traffic and the freeing up of public space.

“With recent estimates from Europe suggesting that up to 51% of all freight journeys in cities could be replaced by cargo bike, it’s remarkable to see that, if even just a portion of this shift were to happen in London, it would be accompanied by not only dramatic reduction of CO2  emissions but also contribute to a considerable mitigation of risks from air pollution and road traffic collisions whilst ensuring an efficient, fast and reliable urban freight system,” said Ersilia Verlinghieri, a senior research fellow at the Active Travel Academy.

In just 98 days of the study, Pedal Me diverted 3,896 Kg of CO2, making it clear that cargo bikes provide a massive climate benefit while at the same time proving customers could be served well if not better than the traditional model.

“We conclude with some key recommendations for supporting the expansion of cargo bike freight in London and improving our roads for many that still struggle to use them safely,” the report concludes.

With 100,000 cargo bikes already at work on the streets of Europe, and companies such as DHL investing in thousands of e-trikes and e-bikes to its fleet, this study should prove useful to those changemakers looking to push the sustainable and active transportation agenda even further.

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