Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Fietskoeriers - nationwide, same day deliveries by bike

Register of Initiatives in Pedal Powered Logistics - RIPPL #32
Photo credit: Fietskoeriers.nl
Fietskoeriers.nl is a collective of 15 bicycle courier companies who together cover every major town and city in the Netherlands. They offer a number of different services, but one in particular is unique: they are able to deliver packages by bike on a same day service, nationwide.

Nationwide same day delivery of packages by bike; it sounds impossible. How do they do this? First off, the Netherlands is not a large country, so that works in their favour. However, the short and possibly unsurprising answer is that not all of the journey takes place on bikes. However, the collections and deliveries - the first and last miles, are covered by bike.
Photo credit: Cycloon
The system is based around a central hub in Amersfoort. Orders placed online before 12:00 midday are collected by bike and taken to one of 30 local Fietskoeriers.nl depots. From there, 15 vans converge on the Amersfoort hub.

Fietskoeriers wanted to reduce the ecological footprint of the operation as much as possible. Unfortunately electric vehicles, which emit nothing locally (although of course, depending upon the method of generation, emissions may occur upstream) don’t yet provide the range required for the distances involved. Therefore biogas vehicles, which although still not ideal in terms of environmental impact, do emit significantly less pollutants into the atmosphere than diesel vehicles, are used. Fietskoeriers will continue to review electric vehicle technology and implement it as soon as longer distances are viable. Despite the admittedly minimised emissions that do take place, the difference is felt in the urban realm, where replacing vehicles with bikes brings myriad benefits in terms of air quality and use of public infrastructure and space.


At the Amersfoort hub, packages are sorted and swapped between vehicles before return journeys to the local depots. Back at the depots, packages are loaded onto bikes and delivered to customers.
Photo credit: Fietskoeriers.nl
It’s a complex operation, and if it sounds impossible to you that this could all take place within working hours, you would be right. The deliveries take place in the evening between 18:00 and 22:00; this is what allows enough time for the whole operation to take place.

The service is designed to connect retailers and their customers; customers who tend to be at home in the evenings and not in the day. The numbers show that this evening delivery time slot works well for both Fietskoeriers and their customers; with 98% of packages being delivered on the first attempt.

Innovations: first mile collections, last mile deliveries, nationwide same day delivery

Organisation: Fietskoeriers.nl
Sector: Commercial
Country: The Netherlands
Basis: Permanent
Website: www.fietskoeriers.nl
Facebook: www.facebook.com/fietskoeriersNL
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FietskoeriersNL
Contact: info@fietskoeriers.nl

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Friday, September 22, 2017

UPS - Reducing vehicle movements with city centre container hubs

Register of Initiatives in Pedal Powered Logistics - RIPPL #31
An e-trike loads up at a UPS container in Hamburg. Photo credit: UPS
Global logistics operator UPS have been trialling a new way to reduce vehicle movements in the dense city streets of Hamburg, Dublin and Leuven. Once every day, an on-street storage container - the rear of a short articulated truck - is placed in a pre-arranged central location. The container is pre-loaded with all of the packages to be delivered to the central area that day and becomes UPS’ delivery hub. From here, cargo bikes or trikes can load up, deliver and return multiple times per day, without the time penalties involved in travelling to and from a depot on the edge of the city. Another advantage of a very central location is that deliveries on foot also become a possibility.

Logistics operators typically spend the second half of their day collecting packages to be delivered the next day; naturally at this point the container plays it’s role, acting as a drop off point for the bikes, trikes and foot delivery workers. The container is then driven to an out of town depot where the packages are sorted and join the logistics chain.
Photo credit: UPS Deutschland / Nils Hendrik Mueller
The idea was first piloted in Hamburg; following the success of this trial, there are now four such containers on the city’s streets. Dublin and Leuven followed. During Dublin’s 6 month trial period, the Council are hoping to prevent 150-200 daily vehicle movements in the city centre. The aim in all of the cities would be to find permanent locations for containers to be located; perhaps off street. But for now the objective of the pilot projects is to test the general concept. UPS haven't published figures on any targets associated with the pilot projects, such as reductions in emissions, vehicle movements or finanical savings, so it will be interesting to see if any results are published once the trials conclude.

We’ve covered consolidation centres before in RIPPL articles and there are a few models out there, including those in which several companies share the same facility. Larger operators such as UPS are better equipped to set up their own facilities, but will this prove. It will be fascinating to see how this trend develops in different cities, each of which has it’s own issues and political realities; especially where public space is at a premium. After all, although there’s no question that consolidation centres do provide myriad benefits to cities by reducing vehicle movements, they do still require space to be sacrificed. Whether or not this space is public or private depends upon the reality on the ground in each city and on each individual street.
A Hamburg containter location. Photo credit: Supermarktblog
Innovations: consolidation, containerisation, emissions reduction

Organisation: UPS
Sector: Commercial
Cities: Hamburg, Dublin, Leuven
Countries: Germany, Ireland, Belgium
Basis: Permanent
Website: www.ups.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ups/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/UPS

Sources:
UPS Pressroom “UPS begins a six-month test in cooperation with local authorities”
UPS “Sustainability Solutions”
UPS Longitudes “Narrow Streets, Unlimited Innovation”
FREIGHT in the CITY “UPS urban delivery projects address congestion and air quality in cities”
Hamburg.de “Modellprojekt: Nachhaltiges Lieferkonzept für die Innenstadt wird ausgeweitet” (German)
Paketda! “UPS beliefert Hamburgs Innenstadt aus Paketcontainern” (German)
UPS on Youtube “City Logistik bei UPS: Nachhaltiges Zustellen in Hamburg” (German)
Dublin InQuirer: “A search for ways to ease conflict between delivery vans and cyclists”
The Irish Times: “Container to be placed in Dublin city to cut down on delivery vans”
Supermarkt blog: “Das Ende der Paketwagenpolonaise: UPS will die Zustellung in der Innenstadt neu erfinden” (German)
Hamburger Abendblatt: “Paketdienst UPS testet die Paketzustellung zu Fuß” (German)
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Thursday, September 14, 2017

La Tricyclerie - the circular economy, à la pédale

Register of Initiatives in Pedal Powered Logistics - RIPPL #30

Photo Credit: Charlotte Goislot
La Tricyclerie is an initiative based in Nantes, France, which collects organic waste from local businesses on cargo tricycles and bike trailers. The waste, which comes from 30 restaurants in three Nantes neighbourhoods, is collected by a team of volunteers. Twice-weekly collections add up to an estimated 20 tons annually, which is taken to local composting facilities. All collections are weighed, with the business or restaurant’s contribution tracked.

The businesses are provided with buckets in which to collect their waste. The resulting compost is redistributed to urban gardens and green spaces, as well as peri-urban farms. The scheme also aims to raise awareness of food waste and to give local residents access to the composted material for community projects.
Collections are weighed, then loaded into the trailer.
Photo credit: Charlotte Goislot
The initiative is the brainchild of Coline Billon, a local Environmental Engineer who founded La Tricyclerie in 2015, on her return to Nantes from time spent in Peru. It was there, at the 2014 COP20 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima, that she was inspired to become involved in ecological innovation back home.

Billon has ambitious plans; by 2018 she plans to collect 30 tons of waste annually, double the number of restaurants involved and develop a network of farmers who would benefit from the compost. There are currently 15 people in the organisation, three of whom are paid. Expansion outside of Nantes is also on the agenda; Billon plans to develop a framework for supporting those who want to imitate the initiative in their own cities.
Image credit: Julie Boiveau
Billon was recently shortlisted in the UN’s Young Champions of the Earth competition, in which La Tricyclerie could win $15.000 in funding. Results will be announced at the end of September 2017.

We’ve covered initiatives involving the circular economy, food, outreach programmes and cargo bikes before on RIPPL; Gruten in Oslo and the Food Rescue movement in Colorado.

Innovations: Circular Economy

Organisation: La Tricyclerie
City: Nantes
Country: France
Basis: Permanent
Website: www.latricyclerie.fr
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/latricyclerie/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Latricyclerie
Contact: latricyclerie@gmail.com

Sources:
Ling Magazine: “La Tricyclerie, or how to recycle while you exercise”
Canal+ Detours: “A Nantes, elle recycle les déchets en pédalant” (French)
Nantes Metropole: “La Tricyclerie recycle les épluchures et séduit les Nations Unies” (French)
Ouest-France: “Nantes. La Tricyclerie sélectionnée aux Nations Unies : votez pour eux” (French)
Say-Yess.com “Collecte de compost: roulez jeunesse!” (French)
France Inter: “Quinze restaurants de Nantes trient leurs poubelles pour qu’elles soient transformées en compost pour les jardins ou les fermes alentour” (French)
helloasso "La Tricyclerie)" (French)
20 Minutes: "Nantes: La Tricyclerie collecte les déchets organiques des restos à vélo" (French)
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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

PAZTIR - chasing efficiency in the time, management and security domains

Register of Initiatives in Pedal Powered Logistics - RIPPL #29
A PAZTIR-enabled Radkutsche, squaring up against water-borne competition
at this year's International Cargo Bike Festival. Photo credit: Tom Parr
How can cycle logistics operators become more efficient? How can they prevent theft? How can they better control their operations? PAZTIR is a system that aims to address all of these questions. Appropriately enough since the system protects and provides oversight, the name Paztir means shepherd in Slavic languages (for those interested in etymology, it comes from the same origin as the English word ‘pastor’).


Andrej Sobotkiewicz and Nerina Corbadzic, two of the four co-founders (the others are Jure Vizintin and Jurij Celesnik) have a background in “Lock and Charge” systems. These cables, which simultaneously provide power and security, were initially being developed by Andrej and Nerina for e-bike sharing applications. However, their PAZTIR system is specifically designed for cycle logistics. PAZTIR was developed with the support of World Startup Factory, a business incubator in Den Haag/The Hague in The Netherlands which provided office space, connections to investors and technical expertise.
The video above briefly demonstrates how the PAZTIR system works from a user’s point of view, but there’s more to it than this. Uniquely, locking and an alarm are combined with GPS and management features; it:

  • Locks - allows quick locking and unlocking of both the rear wheel lock and the box at the same time. This is done using a remote, wrist-mounted key which is assigned to the user, via a smartphone app, or remotely via a secure web app.
  • Guards - there is an alarm which goes off if the bike is tampered with whilst locked.
  • Communicates - GPS coordinates and status of the alarm, locks and battery is sent to the cloud, and from there to the logistics company’s management software (the data sent can be configured with an API).


Why does this matter though, to logistics operators? It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine a situation in which it would be useful to know who opened a box, when, where and how. Packages can be tracked in real time. The GPS data can even integrate with software that plans and optimises routes.
A propotype of the wrist-mounted key. Following feedback from the pilot
schemes, this design may change. Photo credit: Tom Parr
Nerina and Andrej calculated that it takes around 15 seconds to lock a cargo bike and box, plus another 10 seconds to unlock. That doesn’t sound like a lot in isolation, but for operations where couriers have to make perhaps 50-100 stops per day for collections or deliveries, they estimated that the PAZTIR system could save around 40 minutes with a more efficient method of locking and unlocking.

A related problem is that of couriers not locking their bikes and boxes. This is especially an issue for those couriers who are paid per delivery; unintended consequences of this pay structure can be that riders are motivated more by efficiency than by security. So it follows that a system that makes it easier and quicker to lock the box could reduce couriers’ motivation to take such risks.
The PAZTIR system. Image credit: PAZTIR
“There are more bikes in cities and more organisations are using them for logistics.” says Andrej, who has received feedback from operators that reflects changing attitudes from some interesting quarters. “Online shopping means that a more of the packages being delivered are more valuable, so actually it’s online retailers who are demanding more security from their couriers.”

This leads Andrej to further thoughts about possible future trends in cycle logistics: “Insurance companies haven’t caught up yet, but we think they will when they see these trends and realise that there are ways of reducing the risks involved. Perhaps in the future, operators will be able to get cheaper insurance if they can prove they are using a secure system; perhaps there is even a role for certification”.
Above and below: The hardware. Photo credits: Tom Parr

For now, the PAZTIR system is in a piloting phase; Andrej and Nerina are rolling out pilot schemes first of all in order to get real life feedback. These are with Dutch cycle couriers Cycloon, Dutch cargo bike manufacturers Babboe and German cargo bike manufacturers Radkutsche, amongst others. Once complete, there will be another round of pilots and refinements with the aim to go into production in 2018.

Innovations: Internet of Things, efficiency, management, security

Organisation: PAZTIR
Sector: Commercial
Country: Slovenia, Italy and The Netherlands
Bike Manufacturer(s): Douze Cycles, Radkutsche, Babboe
Basis: Permanent - currently in pilot phase
Website: www.paztir.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paztir/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/paztir
Contact: info@paztir.com

Sources:
World Startup Factory: “Startup Updates in April”
Lock&Charge “Ready for Growth”

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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Box Bike Helsinki - What would cargo bikes look like if designed by urban teens?

Register of Initiatives in Pedal Powered Logistics - RIPPL #28

Answer: It would look like this. Photo credit: Teemu Saloriutta/Box Bike Helsinki
Bike Box Helsinki was a project run by the Nature League of Finland (LUPPI) in which young people were invited to design and build a cargo bike. The idea for the project stemmed from the question: what would cargo bikes look like if designed by urban teens? Cargo bikes are generally designed by adults, for adults, after all. What design features would a cargo bike have, if it was designed by teenagers, for teenagers, to fulfil the differing needs they have in their lives? Where do they go? How often? What do they need to carry? Possibly most importantly, how should it look?

Following a competition in 2015, a group of six 13-20 year olds was invited to take part in weekly design sessions, guided by mentors. Designing gave way to building and the group gained practical and teamwork skills. As part of the program, these skills were reinforced by bike maintenance classes given to the group, setting the teens up for a lifetime of tinkering with bikes.
Photo credit: Box Bike Helsinki
By engaging young people in the whole process of designing and building a cargo bike, LUPPI hoped to encourage the group to think about using sustainable forms of transport and to consider the possibility that a bicycle could provide for their daily transportation needs.

The finished cargo trike was unveiled at the end of November 2016. It was donated to the youth centre where the group of youngsters regularly meet up. Should they have a need to use it, the trike is available to the teens and their peers at the centre to borrow.
A teenager's ideal cargo bike also features solar panels and a sound
system. Photo credits: Roope Niemi, Straightforward Photography
Innovations: community, DIY build

Organisation: LUPPI (Nature League of Finland)
Sector: Voluntary
City: Helsinki
Country: Finland
Basis: One-off project
Website: http://www.luppi.fi/boxbikehelsinki/eng/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/boxbikehelsinki
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BoxBikeHelsinki

Sources:
Momentum Mag: “Box Bike Helsinki”
Bike Citizens: “Box Bike Helsinki: Cargo Bikes Made by Youngsters”
munstadi.fi “Mikä ihmeen Boss Bike?” (Finnish)
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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Velove and Pling Transport - Pedal-Powered Logistics: exactly how energy efficient?

Register of Initiatives in Pedal Powered Logistics - RIPPL #27

A Velove Armadillo in Pling Transport livery. Photo credit: Velove

The Armadillo is a unique vehicle. It's perhaps best to leave it to Swedish manufacturers Velove to provide a succinct description:
“a four wheel, fully suspended cargo cycle . . . Somebody called it a ‘mix of gokart, bike and van’, which we think pretty much nails it!”
The Armadillo is growing in popularity; in the last couple of years it has been adopted by a growing number of logistics operators across three continents, notably DHL who trialled it in Utrecht and Frankfurt.

One of Velove’s claims is that the Armadillo is extremely efficient; in terms of space, energy and resources used to manufacture it. To test their claims in one of these areas, namely energy efficiency, Velove teamed up with Gothenburg-based cycle logistics operator Pling Transport to run some research funded by the Swedish Energy Agency. Together, they ran a series of A-B tests in March 2017 to compare the efficiency of the Armadillo and a small electric van.
Five of Pling's regular routes, used for A-B testing. Image credit: Pling Transport
The results were very clear. The Armadillo was by far the most efficient, using just 6% of the electrical energy used by a standard Nissan e-NV200 with a similar load.

Measurements were taken on the actual amount of energy consumed whilst charging the batteries of both vehicles. Velove and Pling speculated that the following factors contributed to the results:
  • Weight difference: the Nissan was 17 times heavier than the Armadillo (this factor also has implications for resource efficiency)
  • Start-stop traffic adversely affecting the battery life of the Nissan
  • Charging losses and energy constantly being drawn whether the Nissan is driving or not
The Armadillo - according to the research, more efficient by a factor of 15. Image credit: Velove
Of course as demonstrated above, the vehicles weren't taking the exact same routes either - they took slightly different routes, but overall the distances taken were very similar. In practice however, the more nimble Armadillo would in many cities be able to take shorter routes in the dense urban landscape. Another factor could be the contribution provided by pedal-power to the Armadillo; a contribution fuelled, naturally, by food. The scope of the research didn’t stretch to evaluating what the couriers had had for breakfast (that would have made the research much more complicated), but it is true that energy from food would have contributed somewhat. An idea to include for future research perhaps, and it’s worth noting that Velove do tackle this point on their website:
“Some people argue that muscle powered transport is inefficient, as it is fuelled by food and there are a lot of energy losses when producing food and transforming it to muscle power. In one sense that is true, but on the other hand we all need exercise anyway to stay healthy. If you ride in a car or a van, you need to get the exercise some other way, which will most likely not produce useful energy, as transporting yourself and/or cargo.”

For full reports on the research, see the links to Velove and Pling Transport’s reports in the ‘Sources’ section below.

Pling and MaaS
Lastly, a note about Pling, who not only use the Armadillo for transporting goods, but also to provide a taxi service to the people of Gothenburg. The only example we at RIPPL know of a pedal powered articulated trailer providing Mobility as a Service.
Photo credit: Pling Transport
Innovations: efficiency, emissions reduction, MaaS

Organisation: Velove and Pling Transport
Sector: Commercial
City: Gothernburg
Country: Sweden
Bike Manufacturer: Velove
Basis: Permanent
Website: http://velove.se http://plingtransport.se
Facebook: Velove FacebookPling Transport Facebook
Twitter: Velove TwitterPling Transport Twitter
Contact: info@velove.se or info@plingtransport.se

Sources:
International Cargo Bike Festival: "Fietskoeriers bij DHL" (Dutch)
Velove: "The Armadillo cargo bike use 6 % of the electricity of a small electric van"
Pling Transport: "Elassisterad lastcykel 15 gånger energieffektivare än elskåpbil" (Swedish)
Pling Transport - Youtube: "Cargo bikes replacing van and truck deliveries" (Swedish, subtitled)
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Friday, September 1, 2017

TINK - Affordable Cargo Bike Sharing in Germany

Register of Initiatives in Pedal Powered Logistics - RIPPL #26

TINK Cargo Bikes in Norderstedt. Photo credit: Andreas Burgmayer
TINK, or (Transportrad Initiative Nachhaltiger Kommunen - Cargo bike Initiative of Sustainable Communities), is a cargo bike sharing initiative based in two German cities. 24 cargo bikes and trikes have been made available to members of the public in the northern city of Norderstedt, whilst in the south 24 more are available in the University town of Konstanz. The two cities were chosen for the project because of the already high levels of cycling there.

Having begun in summer 2016, TINK is initially a 2-year pilot project and is part of the National Cycling Plan 2020 (NRVP). Funding mostly comes from the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), with a small amount coming from the two municipalities. The scheme will be monitored and data analysed by partner teams of mobility experts and environmental psychologists.
The opening ceremony of the scheme in Konstanz. Photo credit: Stadt Konstanz
Registration is free for users, as is the first 30 minutes of use. After this the costs kick in, although they are minimal: it’s €1 for every 30mins, up to a maximum of €9 per 24 hour period. Cargo bikes can be rented at one on-street hire station and left at another, without penalty. The bikes are unlocked with a code sent to the user via a smartphone app, SMS, telephone hotline or on the website. Frequent users can buy an electronic chip key for €5.

In Konstanz, the initial aim was to have 1,500 users after two years; this had been surpassed after only six months, with 1,744 users already having signed up for the service. In Norderstedt the service is run by bike sharing company Nextbike and in Konstanz by fahrradspezialitaeten.com.
TINK bikes on TOUR. Photo Credit: TINK
The scheme is being promoted in novel ways. A fake bank robbery carried out, naturally, by cargo bike was covered by German press and caught the attention of Guerilla Marketing gurus. No less conventional, but perhaps more ambitious, was TINK Project Leader Marco Walter and colleague Nathalie Niekisch's effort. Together they embarked on a 14-day, 1,000km ride from Konstanz to Norderstedt dubbed “TINK on TOUR”, using cargo bikes from the scheme. This occured in November of 2016; a strong demonstration that cargo bikes are suitable for heavy use all year round. On the way they stopped in ten cities (Karlsruhe, Mannheim, Darmstadt, Frankfurt, Mainz, Wiesbaden, Marburg, Kassel, Hanover and Hamburg) and held information sessions explaining the scheme to the municipalities and other interested parties. A full report on the tour is available here in German (link opens pdf). 


The municipalities of Konstanz and Norderstedt will take ownership of the bikes after the pilot and are already making arrangements for the service to continue beyond the 2 years. The concept is likely to be rolled out to other German cities following the trial period.
A Norderstedt resident making good use of a cargo bike from the scheme. Photo credit: TINK
Innovations: Sharing, Public Sector involvement as a catalyst

Organisation: TINK
Sector: Government
City: Konstanz and Norderstedt
Country: Germany
Bike Manufacturer(s): Bakfiets.nl
Basis: Pilot
Website: http://tink.bike/cms/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tink.bike/

Sources:
Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik - Fahrradportal: "TINK - Transportrad Initiative nachhaltiger Kommunen" (German)
Hamburger Abendblatt: “Norderstedt startet großes Transport-Radsystem” (German)
SÜDKURIER: “Mietbare Lastenräder sind ein Erfolg in Konstanz” (German)
shz.de “30 Minuten kostenlos: Norderstedt vermietet Lastenräder per App” (German)
TINK: “”TINK on TOUR” (German)(opens pdf)
Stadt Konstanz: “Sprudel-Sprinter und Hörnle-Hopper: Konstanz startet TINK Transportrad-Mietsystem” (German)(opens pdf)
Stadt Norderstedt: “Stadt Norderstedt startet größtes Mietsystem für Transport-Fahrräder in Deutschland” (German)(opens pdf)
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