A desire to find a way to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of urban deliveries was the inspiration behind the “Last Mile Delivery Challenge”. Launched in late 2018, the project is co-funded by Enterprise Ireland and Dublin City Council, in partnership with Belfast City Council, as part of the Small Business Innovation Research Programme.
As a pre-commercial procurement challenge, the Last Mile Delivery project sought to identify tech solutions that can improve urban deliveries; reducing congestion, improving air quality, reducing noise pollution and increasing road safety.
Following the challenge launch, six companies successfully secured Phase 1 funding to develop their solutions: Fernhay–UPS, GridSmarterCities, Masterlink Logistics, Passel, ParkUnload, and WeDispatch,
A wide range of exciting pilots have taken place in both Dublin and Belfast. Some solutions provided consolidation hubs from where deliveries into the city centre in green transport modes could be made, such as e-vehicles, e-bikes and cargo bikes. Others investigated the use of new technologies to digitise kerbside bookings and better manage loading and unloading. Further innovations saw the design and development of new prototypes of pedal powered and walked delivery vehicles, these will allow for the trialling of new forms of low emission deliveries in the inner city.
Learnings from this project been numerous, such as the need to upgrade parking bye-laws to reflect technological advancements and that stakeholder engagement and buy-in from local businesses is key when trying to better manage delivery logistics. With significant opportunities for urban delivery improvements identified, tests continue today in both Dublin and Belfast developing and validating Last Mile delivery solutions.
Listen below to Luke Binns, Smart Dublin Projects Coordinator on Dublin City FM for a primer on the Last Mile Delivery Challenge.