The consumption of goods, especially in cities, is making urban transport more complex. This is being driven by shorter cycles for seasonal goods, growth in web-based shopping, and higher expectations on short delivery times. Mailboxes serve fewer and fewer letters. Post-offices are closing down and trucks seem to be the worst urban parking violators around.
Transport needs are shifting as internet shopping grows and businesses delivery needs become more and more complex. We now order our weekly groceries online and have them delivered to our door. We pick up parcels at a variety of locations in our neighborhood, depending on the shipping company or the type of goods. The cycles for seasonal goods are getting shorter too as urban retailers push to have as little stock as possible due to expensive floor-space.
Allowing for high-accuracy tracking through networked packages opens up for a number of benefits. Delivery expectations can be set to very specific timing windows. Delivery addresses can be changed en-route without manual intervention. Urban businesses can reduce the inefficiencies from excess waiting times for goods and spare parts. If we know exactly where the package is, we can also make more efficient delivery decisions.
A greater variety of distribution points in cities will lead to smaller vehicles for intracity delivery. The modern postal vehicle is too small and was optimized for the delivery of letters and small packages. They also occupy too much space wherever they stop. Networked vehicles tightly coupled to re-loading centers outside urban centers and package distribution points represent a vital development area.
Here are my predictions for the future of networked goods delivery:
* Real-time tracking capabilities will emerge for e-commerce goods scheduled for urban delivery
* Intelligent delivery points will support flexible pick-up since the best location can vary from order to delivery
* Smaller connected trucks provide a link between packages and the overall tracking system.