Starting next year, Santa Monica will launch the country’s first zero-emissions delivery zone in early 2021. This will be a one-square-mile area in the beach town that will use small electric vehicles for parcel and food deliveries, and among the vehicles that will be using are electric cargo bikes, plug-in three wheelers, and robots.
Expected to launch by early February, the delivery zone will be located in Santa Monica’s main shopping and dining hub, Main St. It will span from the city’s southern border at Dewey St. to Wilshire Blvd., and from the ocean eastward to Lincoln Blvd.
Quoted by Spectrum News 1, electric vehicle program coordinator for the city of Santa Monica Ariana Vito said: “Cleaner delivery vehicles mean less pollution, less noise, and less carbon emissions.” Just as she said, the new pilot program seeks to lower emissions and decrease traffic for food and parcel deliveries. It is funded with a grant from the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development and coordinated through the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and will not be banning vehicles powered with fossil fuels nor large delivery trucks.
Santa Monica has already partnered with a handful of companies for the pilot, including the food waste recovery group FoodCycle LA, the linen delivery company Alsco, and the furniture company IKEA. Additional companies are likely to join, including a handful that are currently operating in Santa Monica.
The zero-emissions delivery zone pilot is intended to address the rush to online shopping and the crush of traffic-producing, emissions-generating delivery vehicles needed to bring them to customers’ doorsteps.
There are any number of cargo-carrying vehicles that are zero emissions while also being small, maneuverable, and parkable. All of them are hoping to usher in a new era of efficient transportation that will be accepted by the mainstream.
Santa Monica will create as many as 20 loading zones within the delivery area, each of which will repurpose one to two parking spaces for exclusive use by zero-emissions delivery vehicles. The city is working with an artificial intelligence company to mount video cameras on street lights near designated curb locations that will be used for pickups and dropoffs.
The companies participating in the pilot will have stickers on their vehicles that allow them to be tracked by the cameras. The software will then use that data to see how many vehicles use the zones and how much time they spend.
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