Beyond the Curb NYC: Feasibility Study for Innovative Delivery Pilot Projects

CALSTART releases a guide for companies seeking to reduce pollution and congestion through new goods movement strategies.


New York City (NYC) is one of the nation’s largest transportation hubs. As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on life in the city continues to evolve, residents are witnessing significant changes to the urban curbside. The growing demand for deliveries is one of them.
While mass transit ridership is down, home package deliveries are at an all-time high, exacerbating an e-commerce boom that predates the COVID-19 pandemic and causing further congestion in an already crowded urban environment. The movement of goods, imperative to the city’s economy, contributes to congestion and generates planet-warming emissions. Still, the recent trend represents a huge opportunity for innovative delivery solutions that can mitigate issues such as vehicle traffic and curb dwell time, as well as improve efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

With the generous support of FedEx Cares, CALSTART, a national nonprofit focused on accelerating clean transportation, recently released a Beyond the Curb NYC study that looks at innovative delivery in the nation’s most populated urban area. The study builds on the white paper Going Beyond the Curb: Policies & Best Practices, which was also prepared by CALSTART for FedEx. While the white paper looks at both national and international examples of curb space management, the study zooms in on NYC and takes into consideration unique challenges facing the launch of pilots in the city. The study’s objective was to align itself with existing advancements in policy and technology, while offering a guiding document for companies looking to pilot last-minute delivery initiatives in the city.

NYC already manages the impact of deliveries through programs such as Neighborhood Loading Zones, Off-Hour Deliveries, and a cargo bike delivery pilot program. The city’s Department of Transportation is exploring further strategies such as multi-company delivery locker hubs, off-street consolidation, and Green Loading Zones. These programs and initiatives are outlined in a Smart Truck Management Plan released in May 2021. Companies working in goods movement, curb management, and clean transportation technology are critical partners in expanding these and other innovative solutions. But these companies face regulatory hurdles and other challenges to operate in NYC’s complex environment.

Beyond the Curb NYC offers guidance on navigating these hurdles to develop a successful pilot project, including selecting a project location, engaging with stakeholders, identifying potential regulatory constraints, and aligning project outcomes to existing plans and priorities at the city and community level. The study concludes with a pilot development process that captures these recommendations, in addition to some locations, priorities, and project types that are well positioned for innovation.

The full study can be found at this link, and a presentation of key takeaways can be found here.

Funding for the report was provided by FedEx Cares as part of FedEx Corp’s (NYSE: FDX) charitable giving and commitment to sustainable logistics.