Study finds nighttime delivery benefit

Indications from a Swedish trial highlight the possibilities of late night truck movements

Study finds nighttime delivery benefit
Scania supplied a gas-powered truck for the trial.


A two-year Swedish study has found the added economic, environmental and social advantages of night deliveries outweigh resulting noise disturbance.

The Stockholm study, which saw two trucks sanctioned to make deliveries in the previously prohibited period between 10pm and 6am, was conducted by the Integrated Transport Research Lab at Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology (KTH).

Trucks involved were equipped with microphones to monitor the noise levels for those in close proximity of the vehicles and adjacent homes.

The study found that loading and unloading was worse for noise than the operation of the vehicles, busy streets were unproblematic to the late deliveries, and efficiencies of vehicle movement was approximately 20 per cent.

KTH’s Romain Rumpler says one complaint was registered during the two year period, in a quiet residential street where the impact of delivery noises would have the most impact.

"When assessing the noise effects of nighttime deliveries it is important to take background noise into account," he says.

"Therefore, the conclusion was that nighttime deliveries are unproblematic in noisy areas while more efforts are needed in quiet areas."

Fellow KTH researcher Anastasios Koutoulos says the average speed of the trial trucks was 30-60 per cent higher than during daytime periods, meaning vehicles could accommodate more deliveries in the one trip or complete the round trip in a shorter period of time.

"Since we have fuel cost savings, there is no need for public subsidies," Koutoulos says.

"With these increases in efficiency, transport companies could save one truck in five."

While no concrete decision has been made on the back of the results by the City of Stockholm, it will be taking a look through the findings to examine the chance to enhance mobility, reduce air pollution and climate impact, while considering the added noise effects.

"We now have an incredibly valuable experience to build upon," says Elin Skogens at the City’s Traffic Administration Office.

"But the noise aspects need to be studied further."

The ongoing study has also been extended, with the city granting the option of the two trucks to be joined by a third.



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