The cargo bike, the future of urban freight transport

Congestion in downtown areas is now a major concern for many municipalities. And to decongest these cities, the bicycle is undoubtedly the most sustainable solution, both for the time saved and for its ecological impact. According to data published by one of France’s largest freight transport companies, two-thirds of its business to and from the city of Paris could be done by cargo bike. These are interesting figures, since freight transport now accounts for 14% of greenhouse gas emissions in France. In addition, there are many negative externalities that are particularly important in cities (traffic jams, noise pollution, etc.). 

Cycling is currently the only sustainable solution to decarbonize the last mile, which is the one that emits the most energy, and to relieve congestion on the main urban roads. Not to mention that with the rise of e-commerce, deliveries have only increased in recent years, intrinsically leading to an increase in deliveries. As a result, the fleet required for urban logistics will inevitably increase. Early estimates predict a 36% increase in truck miles traveled in major cities around the world by 2030 if no action is taken. The development of bicycle logistics must be considered a priority, even if the use of cargo bikes requires organization. 

The location of sorting platforms, for example, generally on the outskirts of cities, must be rethought because of their transport capacity, which is lower than that of a truck, and their range of action, which is also lower than that of a truck. Thus, some companies have resorted to micro-hubs in the heart of cities, with cargo bikes operating in a hub-and-spoke fashion from these points. Some companies are getting inventive by imagining containers or trucks acting as micro-hubs.

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