Ford is trialling a sustainable courier service that could reduce the footprint of parcel deliveries in cities. The company has designed an innovative approach is designed to help support cleaner air and clearer roads.
More than at any other time, 2020 was the year of the home delivery, with few signs of online shopping slowing in 2021. However, the rise in digital retail has placed increased pressure on courier services to dispatch more goods to our doorsteps – and to do so more quickly and efficiently.
Ford’s smart MoDe:Link software coordinates traditional delivery vans with pedestrian couriers, identifying safe locations for drivers to park within walking distance of multiple delivery addresses. From there, the final leg of the journey is completed on foot.
In trials, delivery time targets for parcels were met more frequently than via conventional doorstep deliveries. If adopted, the initiative could make more efficient use of vans on the road as well as helping tackle air pollution and ease congestion.
Operating alongside a team of eight pedestrian couriers and located across three London postcode areas, two Ford Transit vans delivered the same number of parcels as six vans making conventional doorstep deliveries – and did so more quickly.
In an industry that has had to race to recruit delivery drivers to meet consumer demand, the pedestrian delivery model opens the door for a whole new workforce who no longer need to drive or own a vehicle. With pedestrian couriers delivering up to fifty parcels per shift, there are fitness benefits to the role; couriers may also potentially benefit from flexible working patterns that can fit around family commitments.
‘Being smarter about how we deliver parcels in the future will enable carriers to operate more sustainably and efficiently – while delivering a better experience for customers. Our trials with Hermes have shown how multi-modal deliveries can be scalable and effective, even during peak times of the year,’ says Tom Thompson, a project lead at Ford.
Watch a video about the Pilot Pedestrian Couriers.