In late January on one of the coldest days of the year, over 50 leaders from various organizations around the city gathered for the Pembina Institute’s Modernizing Urban Freight Deliveries in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area workshop. Participants discussed the opportunities that cyclelogistics and urban spaces offer for reimagining last mile deliveries and how cargo bikes could provide an opportunity to bypass road congestion and reduce emissions from delivery trucks and vans. But while the promise of cargo bikes is impressive, the reality of instituting cyclelogistics and other innovative delivery solutions remains complex. This workshop and related research was partly funded by the Metcalf Foundation.
The successful implementation of cyclelogistics involves not only a solid understanding and analysis of its operational and business feasibility, but it is also necessary to ensure that a supportive policy and regulatory environment exists.
Pembina Institute’s Transportation Director Lindsay Wiginton introduces the first speaker of the afternoon, Janelle Lee, an analyst with Pembina’s Transportation and Urban Solutions team in Toronto.
Janelle shares news about existing and future opportunities to move an increasing volume of goods through Toronto using cargo cycles. She also addresses constraints in the current regulatory environment.
Participants include representatives from all three levels of government, academics, cycling groups, and private companies in the logistics, delivery, and retail sectors.
Curbside Cycle’s Eric Kamphof talks about the recent increase of cargo cycle sales and what to expect in the future. Curbside provided the cargo bike for the afternoon’s presentation.
Lucas Meilach-Boston, Picking Program & Events Coordinator of Not Far from the Tree is exploring how cargo bikes could be used to assist with their operations of harvesting fruit from privately owned trees in the city and distributing it between the homeowner, volunteers, local food banks, shelters, and community kitchens.
Lindsay takes notes during the breakout sessions. The ideas and thoughts gathered here help researchers understand stakeholder perspectives on the viability of urban freight solutions. The results of the workshop will be used to further Pembina’s microhubs feasibility study, which will examine where and how goods can be shifted to low-carbon transportation modes for last-mile deliveries.
Following the presentations, participants form breakout groups to further explore opportunities around cargo cycle usage in the city.
Carolyn Kim, Pembina Institute’s Director of City Building, listens intently to the feedback of her peers. She will be one of the authors of the forthcoming feasibility study.
Breakout session moderators take notes of the participants’ ideas on how electric-assist cargo cycles could be integrated into urban streetscapes on different types of roads (transit priority, commercial, arterial, etc.).
Pembina’s next step will be to collate and analyze the material gathered during the workshop. These findings will be applied to Pembina’s microhubs feasibility study and used to attract greater interest in cyclelogistics amongst various companies and levels of government.