Customer First

Lessons From Our eBike Journey

UPS is exploring a range of solutions to make deliveries within cities more efficient and with zero emissions, including with electric bicycles and tricycles. We launched our first eBike delivery pilot in Hamburg, Germany, in 2012. Today, we are working on more than 30 urban logistics projects in cities worldwide.

After nearly a decade of collaborating with city stakeholders on more sustainable logistics solutions, we’ve learned a lot about which options work best in different areas. This experience has enabled us to identify and scale the right combination of solutions, such as electric vehicles, bikes, and even drones.

Here are a few examples of how we’re applying these insights to new projects.


Bikes work best in dense environments

In congested urban areas, it can often be hard to find parking for a delivery van. This creates an opportunity for bikes, which can travel places that trucks can’t—like bike lanes, sidewalks, and narrow side streets. When bikes replace trucks in dense city centers, they reduce congestion and emissions where these problems are most acute. This is a shared challenge among many logistics companies, so it’s critical that we come together to create shared solutions.

Insight in action: New York City
NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg

UPS is collaborating on a six-month pilot with other logistics companies to reduce delivery related congestion in New York City. The bikes will be concentrated in the most congested parts of Manhattan and will have access to commercial loading areas, sidewalks, and more than 1,250 miles of bike lanes.


Many customers make for more efficient delivery

Compared to large delivery vans, bikes are better suited to make multiple stops within a small geographic radius. Areas with a high density of UPS customers, therefore, are bike delivery sweet spots. Packages can be transported to an Eco Hub that serves as a mini distribution center, then efficiently delivered to customers via bike or on foot.

Insight in action: Trinity College Dublin

Campus environments—where thousands of potential customers live and work in a condensed area—are ideal for bike delivery. At Trinity College Dublin, UPS eBikes now make deliveries from a package hub on campus, and students and staff can collect parcels from storage lockers any time of day.


Partnership with cities is key

eBike solutions can help cities meet their emissions reduction goals—but only if cities are on board. City officials are instrumental in helping communities adapt to this new logistics model, including providing space for Eco Hubs and allowing eBikes to temporarily park in loading zones.

Insight in action: Denmark and Sweden

Copenhagen and Stockholm plan to be carbon-neutral by 2025 and 2040, respectively, and UPS eBikes play an important role in helping them reach their goals. With seven eBikes in these two cities, and in Aarhus, Sweden, UPS will replace 350 daily stops previously made with conventional fuel vehicles through emissions-free bike deliveries. We coordinated with each city to establish Eco Hubs at UPS Access Point® locations.

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