According to PREDIT (Land Transportation Research & Innovation Program), delivery vehicles in urban areas represent 10% of total vehicle-kilometers driven, but more than 40 % of the pollution and local traffic noise. To reduce daytime traffic congestion, professional organizations and public authorities are considering promoting night deliveries, when there is little traffic and a great deal more parking available.
However, the residents (who are both voters and clients) can accept a certain amount of noise pollution during the day, but do not want to be woken up at night by engine and unloading noises. Therefore, night-time deliveries can only occur if they are noiseless. The different options that have been explored all rely on the principle of low-noise deliveries:
- Development of noiseless equipment: electric or NGV trucks, refrigeration units, pallet trucks, and forklifts that comply with noise standards. In Europe, there is mainly the PIEK standard. It stipulates that the noise level of a night delivery (between 10:30 PM and 7:00 AM) cannot exceed 60 decibels, or the equivalent of a normal two-people conversation.
- Issue of new standards, certifications, and labels for night deliveries. In France, several logistics companies, local and regional authorities, and research organizations have created the “Certibruit” charter, which guarantees a night delivery that should not disturb the residents. The charter is being rolled out in 3 cities: Paris, Lyon, and Orleans.
- Modifications to comply with noise standards, and acoustic protection equipment in parking areas, unloading docks, and the last few kilometers of roads leading up to these areas.
- Development of Urban Logistic Spaces (ULS) in downtown distribution centers, near the final delivery points: these can then be serviced by alternative transportation methods (small electric utility vehicles, bicycles and delivery tricycles) over short distances with minimal noise.
- Experiencing alternative transportation methods to deliver packages: subway, tramway, train (used at night, when free of passengers), and waterways.
- Training programs for staff (drivers, delivery and handling staff, etc.) in order to promote best practices and reduce noise pollution along the whole delivery chain.