Monday, September 21, 2009

How to shift freight traffic to off-peak

A while ago, I blogged about a report called “The Truth, The Myths, And The Possible In Freight Road Pricing In Congested Urban Areas.” It reviews road pricing and other measures to reduce freight travel during peak travel periods. The basic summery of the report is that road pricing will not affect the major of trucks that travel during peak times because businesses request deliveries during these times. The report does offer some solutions. But first, I have friend who is a long-haul truckers, and I know he is always leaving super-early in the morning. The Port of Metro Vancouver should encourage all non-local traffic to travel outside of peak times. On the local front, the report offers a great idea.
The most efficient way to induce a shift of truck traffic towards the off-peak hours is to provide financial incentives to the receivers. In all likelihood, once sufficient numbers of receivers are willing to accept off-peak deliveries, the carriers will follow suit.
I think that road pricing should be where Metro Vancouver is going, and I think that the money generated from road pricing should be put into giving people transportation choice. I also like this suggestion. (Note this is from a New York context.)
In terms of the practicality of these comprehensive policies, the paper discusses the hypothetical example of a $5 toll surcharge to trucks traveling thru the Hudson River facilities in New York City that would generate approximately $40 million/year (including some demand contraction). These revenues could be used to fund a variety of off-peak delivery programs. Two of the ideas discussed include the provision of incentives to large traffic generators (e.g., Grand Central Terminal, colleges, government offices); and tax incentives to restaurants in Manhattan willing to accept off-peak deliveries. It is estimated that 20% of the restaurants would accept the offer, leading to a reduction of 1.3 million truck trips/year in Manhattan at a cost of $13 million/year.

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