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New York City and Florida to Pilot Overnight Truck Deliveries

The rise in one-hour delivery windows means Manhattan’s streets could get even more clogged during peak traffic times.

That’s why the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently announced $200,000 in grants under its Surface Transportation Research, Development and Deployment program in an effort to curb congestion.

The funding will finance a pilot project in New York City’s five boroughs as well as in Pensacola, Florida, that will encourage large retailers and food companies to research and test the off-hour delivery of goods.

“I’ve talked to people around the country and they have told me they are tired of spending hours stuck in traffic—they want their transportation problems solved,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “If successful in these cities, this approach can be applied to other areas around the country, cutting congestion, commute times and the costs to businesses.”

According to the DOT, traffic speeds on New York City’s streets slipped to 8.51 miles per hour last year—a 9 percent decline from 2010. And it’s only going to get worse. Earlier this year, a DOT study titled “Beyond Traffic” said that the amount of freight moving in the U.S. will grow by 45 percent by 2040.

To that end, the trials will look at how truck deliveries made during off-peak hours can save time and money for freight carriers (and improve air quality), while the funding will be used to help businesses reconfigure routes and supply chains by using low-cost operational strategies.

“The problem of daytime truck traffic is well-known to any major city in the United States and it’s time for new solutions,” Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau said. “While aggravating local traffic, trucks too have been forced to crawl through city streets—causing businesses loses in time, money and productivity.”