Traffic: we all hate it. But we’re stuck with – and in – it. Or are we?

A new initiative from Dublin City Council (DCC) and delivery firm UPS is aiming to reduce the number of vehicles on the city’s roads. It uses what UPS call an “Eco Hub” container on Wolfe Tone Street. The Eco Hub acts as a small distribution hub from which deliveries can be made by bike or on foot.

“It came about when we were approached by UPS, who had piloted the same project in London, Paris and Hamburg,” explains Colm Ennis, Senior Executive Engineer with DCC. “We are developing a strategy for city centre goods deliveries and are trying to reduce congestion in Dublin, so we saw the benefits immediately.”

So far, four UPS vehicles have been taken off the streets every day. But this figure is set to rise. “There are environmental benefits in reducing noise and air pollution, but reducing traffic from delivery trucks also make the streets safer and easier and more pleasant to walk in. There’s also an economic benefit of making deliveries easier and more efficient.”

Our overall strategy for transport in the city is to prioritise pedestrians, followed by cycling and public transport

Nearly half a million commuters, visitors and residents travel within the city centre every day, and this is forecast to grow by 2023, so it’s vital that congestion is tackled. While larger items will still have to rely on vans and trucks, much of the commercial traffic in the city is from small vans and light goods vehicles, so this model could potentially be scaled out to more delivery firms in a carefully managed way.

“Our overall strategy for transport in the city is to prioritise pedestrians, followed by cycling and public transport,” says Ennis. “But we are very mindful of listening to businesses, who are telling us that they don’t want anything that will increase their delivery costs. At the moment, our engineering division is starting public grounds projects to make areas like College Green and Temple Bar a more pleasant streetscape for everyone.”

UPS Eco Hub, Artwork by Dearbhla Ní Fhaoilleacháin Ryan.

UPS Eco Hub container on Dublin’s Wolfe Tone Street.  Artwork by Dearbhla Ní Fhaoilleacháin Ryan.

The artwork for the project was designed by Dearbhla Ní Fhaoilleacháin Ryan, a recent graduate of the National College of Art and Design on Thomas Street in Dublin. Her graphic represents the heart of the city, and the beauty of Ireland’s countryside brought together.

Andy Smith, country manager for UPS in Ireland, says that the eco hub acts as the central meeting point for alternative delivery by walkers, bicycles, assisted cargo cruisers and tricycles. “The system allows us to deliver approximately 500 packages a day, all of which have had their carbon footprint significantly reduced. The method also allows us to reduce stop-start vehicle movements by over 200 per day and avoids the use of additional loading bays and parking areas. We believe that the Eco Hub model is a significant contributing factor to UPS having one of the most sustainable delivery fleets in the world.”

This system makes it much more certain for delivery firms and businesses alike

Improving the efficiency of “last mile deliveries” is a very live issue in Dublin at the moment – the city council is currently involved in another initiative which seeks to reduce the number of goods vehicles on the streets and improve air quality and noise pollution. In partnership with Enterprise Ireland‘s small business innovation research fund, it’s asking the business community as a whole to submit other ideas to improve the efficiency of “last mile deliveries“.

The Eco Hub project was first trialled in Hamburg back in 2012, and it saw a reduction of between seven and ten vehicles in the city centre every day, reducing carbon emissions by 70 metric tons. Other projects are being rolled out in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and the UK.

For delivery firms, initiatives such as this can hugely improve efficiencies. “Traffic is unpredictable,” says Ennis. “It can be heavy on a Monday, light on a Wednesday, and chaotic on a Thursday. This system makes it much more certain for delivery firms and businesses alike.”

Peter McGuire is a freelance features and news journalist. He also works a researcher and editor. He is a regular contributor to The Irish Times and the Huffington Post, and has also written for the Irish Examiner, Sunday Business Post and Irish Independent.

Skytango

Skytango is an online platform for the buying and selling of drone video footage. Irish woman Susan Flynn is Skytango’s chief operating officer. Her husband Steve, from Minnesota, is its chief executive, a job he’s been preparing for since he was seven years old: “Back in the day, you’d spend three months building a balsa wood and styrofoam airplane and it would take-off and you might have a thirty-second flight and it would explode into pieces, and you’d go back and work for three months to rebuild it. Now you can pull a drone out of a box and launch it, and it’s really fun. ItR

Read More

Responsible Innovation

Innovation is what has brought the human race as far as it has come… Because of innovation, we have tackled disease; we have navigated the globe by land, sea and air; we have sent men to the moon. Soon we will have driverless cars. Innovation, in many ways, defines us. But it also has its limits and drawbacks. There is an innate impulse to push things as far as they can go. At times you wonder why innovation has taken us in this peculiar direction. What is the need for this device? Why has this phenomenon taken over? This is when innovation becomes irresponsible. That innate drive to push boundaries can have consequences for the environment, commerce and social well-

Read More

Sprouting up

There are literally hundreds of young entrepreneurs launching their start-ups in Dublin, hoping to climb the precarious ladder in the tech, food and pharma sectors. Many of these companies will go on to achieve greatness; some will be quietly successful, others will become well-known names across the globe. Others, sadly, will perish under the immense pressure of starting and running a company from scratch. Dublin.ie caught up with Jack Kirwan (pictured above right), founder and co-owner of Sprout & Co. restaurants, which are, well, sprouting up all over the city, to find out what it takes to get from that init

Read More

What's on...

Free GDPR Compliance Workshop

iSkill Training

Join us for a practical workshop in GDPR compliance. Our qualified GDPR practitioner will run through the steps necessary to ensure you are on the right track to compliance. Including real world applicable examples, case studies and more.

More Details

IDI Mind Over Matter

The Dean Hotel

Join us on August 30th for the launch of IDI Mind Over Matter 2018 in the Dean Hotel and find out how Design can boost your business! We will be launching our business booking site where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and businesses from all sectors can book a one-hour consultation with Ireland's best Designers, adding value to their business, product, market & more. Enjoy a panel discussion with business leaders: Orlaith Blaney, Chief Marketing Officer of Ervia and Irish Water Jack Teeling, Founder Teeling Whiskey Andrew Casey - Founder Head Case Marketing. MC

More Details

Allianz Business to Arts Awards

BGE Theatre

The Allianz Business to Arts Awards recognise outstanding examples of business, arts and arts organisations working together in areas such as sponsorship, commissioning, training and events, staff programmes, CSR initiatives and community engagement. If you would like to attend this event, please contact awards@businesstoarts.ie

More Details