To leverage its long coastline for delivery and get polluting trucks off the streets, the city is looking to the private sector for ideas.

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Dive Brief

New York City wants to turn its waterways into “blue highways” for delivering goods, announcing last week that it’s on the hunt for creative ideas from the private sector on how to make the idea a reality.

Millions of packages are now delivered daily by large trucks that pollute and clog roads in New York City. But “with a city coastline stretching longer than Miami, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco combined, there is an exciting opportunity to develop a regional freight network to move our goods more safely and efficiently,” NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said in a statement.

The city said the request for private sector feedback on blue highways will help it develop a potential pilot program to move more freight with marine vessels. The feedback could also lead to capital investments, such as modernizing marine terminals. 

Dive Insight

Delivery of goods can be a dirty business — and the negative impacts are projected to get worse. 

With consumers doing more online shopping, global emissions from local delivery traffic are expected to increase 32% by 2030, according to a new National League of Cities action guide examining how cities can decarbonize delivery. Traffic congestion from delivery traffic is predicted to add 11 minutes of commute time per person in the world’s 100 largest cities, the action guide says.

Despite New York being a “city of islands,” less than 10% of its freight is transported via waterways, said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi in a statement.

New York State Senator Andrew Gounardes said in a statement that the heavy, oversize trucks that deliver a bulk of New Yorkers packages are “crumbling our roads into the ground.” The hundreds of freight trucks that drive through South Bronx neighborhoods daily are directly correlated to some of the nation’s highest asthma rates, City Council Member Amanda Farías said in a statement. 

“Efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and environmental justice have to be our top priorities,” Farías said. “The recently announced Blue Highways initiative meets all three and is exactly the kind of initiative I want to continue seeing from our City.”

To make blue highways a reality, however, the city must maintain, modernize and build port infrastructure, said Michael Stamatis, president and CEO of Red Hook Terminals, in a statement.

The “Blue Highways” initiative isn’t New York City’s only response to proliferating e-commerce. The city also has a program that allows enrolled cargo bicycles to load and unload in certain zones, in a bid to get companies to use bicycles for local deliveries.

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The post NYC wants a ‘blue highway’ on its waterways (SmartCitiesDive) appeared first on London Reconnections.

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