The problem of locating available unloading zones in urban areas offers quite the challenge to delivery vehicle drivers. Especially in a rapidly changing world in which delivery is overtaking store pick-up. At the same time we have urban developers that are looking to make urban areas more attractive for pedestrians and bicyclists. There’s a growing shortage available public space. How much do loading and unloading zones matter in that context? That’s what we are looking into today.
One might think that solving this issue is a merely a matter of creating loading or unloading zones and that that’s that. It turns out not to be that simple. Reality shows that when such zones are created, even based on scientific data, there’s the issue of their occupancy, especially in regards to unauthorized use. In their current form loading zones are ‘dumb’, in that, that they are not equipped with smart systems to manage availability and authorized use. In the day-to-day reality on many occasions loading zones get occupied by waiting taxis, illegal vehicle parking or use by service vans of plumbers and handymen. Unless these zones are outfitted with digital law enforcement systems – that guarantee a 100% probability of receiving a fine and rapid towing of the vehicle – we can expect illegal use of loading zones to remain an issue.
Within the SMART CITY 360º ecosystem™ we, together with urban developers identify locations where there is a need for loading/unloading zones. Second, we outfit these zones with sensors and smart camera’s. These smart city systems identify occupancy as well as other data, such as vehicle type, timing the time spent on the loading zone, and more. This data gets shared real-time with the city’s logistics control tower, as well as vehicle information checked with the city’s central vehicle permit database. By developing centrally managed loading zones in tandem with regulation and digital law enforcement, we not only create the needed space, but also ensure availability for deliveries to take place in time and without negative impact for other road users.