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Busses With Boxes

City centers are increasingly congested, and more and more people keep flooding in. At the same time all manner of things, from flowers to that last-minute birthday present you ordered yesterday, has to get from logistic warehouses and stores through the busy streets and to the customer. In the Netherlands, the CEO of bus company Connexxion, Pier Eringa, thinks he has a part of the solution - putting boxes on busses. [1]  

Eringa launched his proposal in Amsterdam at a recent trade conference for Mobility-as-a-Service to a number of potential partners. The response was very positive from policymakers and industry players. The idea, which Eringa prefers to call "Logistics as a Service", is really quite simple. Many busses travel half empty. Many delivery vans also travel half empty. Putting the packages on the busses reduces traffic, congestion, and emissions while utilizing the busses more effectively. The simplicity of the idea does not, of course, mean it will be simple to implement. Eringa says, “There will undoubtedly be legal objections to the bundling of people and goods, but I’m not afraid of that.”

 

Personal comments

Putting boxes on busses is an intriguing idea in the quickly shifting and highly competitive space of urban logistics. There has been mounting pressure to redesign our streets at the same time that there is increasing pressure to minimize emissions and congestion [2]. All this while the process of urbanization continues. If the legal and social perception issues around putting people and packages together (which is no small challenge) can be overcome, I think this project has real potential. It is similar in some ways to one of the most successful projects in city logistics to date: Älskade stad [3]. It is similar because it appears to be a project that brings together actors from diverse sectors into a new constellation. The actors, in this case, appear to be logistics companies and a public transport company. The possibility of long-lasting collaboration is more likely because they are not direct competitors and can find win-win business models.

 

Written by Joshua Bronson, RISE.

 

Sources

1. 2020-03-06. Top man Connexxion: passengers and packages together in bus.

2. 2016. Global Street Design Guide.

3. Om älskade stad.