Transport and logistics giant UPS Inc. today said it had deployed a bicycle-based parcel delivery system to Pittsburgh, extending its trial of an approach the firm says that can cut back on the traffic, noise, and pollution of traditional trucks.
Atlanta-based UPS said its eBike is an electrically assisted tricycle that is designed to reduce urban traffic congestion and carbon dioxide emissions even as it provides greater mobility for local deliveries.
UPS first demonstrated an eBike delivery network in a 2012 pilot program in Hamburg, Germany, in search of a sustainable method of delivering goods in urban areas, the company said. The system works by placing large containers of parcels at central locations in a city for interim storage, then finishing the job by assigning employees to deliver packages on foot or bicycle.
The company has now extended the German trial and plans to use it as a prototype for Pittsburgh and additional locations. UPS has also used eBikes for package delivery in Portland, Ore., and has other programs in Germany, Belgium, Italy, France, and Ireland.
UPS equips its eBikes with battery-powered electric motors that give riders an advantage over traditional bikes for challenges like covering long distances, carrying substantial loads, and navigating hills and other terrain. Despite the severe winters that are typical of Pittsburgh's climate, UPS intends to operate the eBike in the new city as weather permits on a regular route year-round, the company said.