Commercial heavy vehicles using urban curbside loading zones are not typically provided with an envelope, or space adjacent to the vehicle, allocated for loading and unloading activities. While completing loading and unloading activities, couriers are required to walk around the vehicle, extend ramps and handling equipment and manoeuvre goods; these activities require space around the vehicle. But the unique space needs of delivery trucks are not commonly acknowledged by or incorporated into current urban design practices in either North America or Europe. Because of this lack of a truck envelope, couriers of commercial vehicles are observed using pedestrian pathways and bicycling infrastructure for unloading activities, as well as walking in traffic lanes. These actions put them and other road users in direct conflict and potentially in harm’s way.
This article presents our research to improve our understanding of curb space and delivery needs in urban areas. The research approach involved the observation of delivery operations to determine vehicle type, loading actions, door locations and accessories used. Once common practices had been identified by observing 25 deliveries, simulated loading activities were measured to quantify different types of loading space requirements around commercial vehicles. This resulted in a robust measurement of the operating envelope required to reduce conflicts between truck loading and unloading activities with adjacent pedestrian, bicycle, and motor vehicle activities. From these results, commercial loading zone design recommendations can be developed that will allow our urban street system to operate more efficiently, safely and reliably for all users.
freight, commercial vehicle load zones
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