From the Huffington Post:
Researchers say they have found a way to get trucks off clogged New York City streets during the busiest parts of the day, and they are hoping to use the same approach soon in other U.S. cities.
A two-year experiment that paid customers, such as shops and restaurants, to receive their supplies at night worked better at changing truck delivery times than previous attempts to discourage daytime deliveries by raising tolls during peak hours, said lead researcher, Jose Holguin-Veras, a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
For city residents, a widespread shift in delivery times could make a huge impact on traffic. There are 7,000 restaurants in the city, Holguin-Veras said, each receiving several shipments a day. Moving those to nighttime would be equivalent to moving all of the traffic generated by the city’s ports. Better-flowing traffic reduces air pollution, too.
The professor hopes that the program’s success in New York — regarded as the most difficult destination for trucks in the U.S. — shows it can work elsewhere, too. The federal government is promoting research in other U.S. cities, and the work has attracted international attention, too.
In the New York program, the incentives for businesses went beyond money, Holguin-Veras said. Night deliveries are more dependable than daytime deliveries, for instance. That allows receivers to order less, because they do not have to stock up in case the next delivery truck comes late.
Truck drivers are less likely to get stuck in traffic, pay less money in tickets and tolls and complete their routes faster. Night stops are typically only 30 minutes long, compared to two hours in the daytime.
Sounds like a logical, low-cost way to take care of this problem.