The researchers will conduct extensive polling to determine how economic incentives, most likely in the form of tax breaks, can help persuade business owners to volunteer to begin accepting off-hours deliveries.
Concurrently, the team will outfit delivery truck drivers with “smart” cellular phones that feature satellite global positioning system (GPS) technology. Data collected from these devices which can provide drivers with real-time traffic information and real-time suggestions for avoiding congestion and optimizing routes would be shared with delivery firms, enabling them to do dynamic fleet management at a fraction of the cost of alternative systems currently available.
Data collected from the smart phones would also allow Holguín-Veras and city officials to ensure delivery companies are complying with the program. Researchers also will use this dynamic data to create freight transportation models as well as network traffic simulation.
A shift in delivery times could increase the competitiveness of participating New York businesses by offering tax incentives to those willing to accept off-hour deliveries. Plus, with fewer trucks on the road, it will be easier and faster for customers to visit downtown businesses, the researchers predict.
The project, if successful, could serve as an example for similar programs implemented to help fight traffic congestion in cities around the world, according to Holguín-Veras.