UPS Takes On Postmates With eBike Trial In Seattle


United Parcel Service (UPS) announced that it is ready to unveil a delivery test service that utilizes electric bicycles to address growing traffic congestion and air-quality concerns.

UPS is teaming up with the city of Seattle on the downtown delivery pilot project, which will use pedal-assist cargo eBikes and customized, modular trailers. The pilot will operate in the Pike Place Market and downtown Seattle area on sidewalks and in designated bike lanes.

“While we have launched cycle logistic projects in other cities, this is the first one designed to meet a variety of urban challenges,” Scott Phillippi, UPS’s senior director of maintenance and engineering, international operations, said in a press release. “The modular boxes and trailer allow us to expand our delivery capabilities and meet the unique needs of our Seattle customers. It’s exciting to return to our roots — UPS started in Seattle in 1907 as a bicycle messenger company. We’re looking forward to being able to offer these customizable urban delivery solutions to other cities nationwide.”

UPS worked with Silver Eagle Manufacturing using Truck Trikes. The cargo eBike system will have removable cargo containers that are deployed via a specially designed trailer, which will be able to access areas that conventional delivery trucks can’t get to. In addition, the pilot aims to reduce congestion in by cutting down truck dwell time, double parking and other issues associated with downtown deliveries.

If the pilot is successful, UPS will expand the route, as well as consider additional deliveries in other areas of the city.

“Seattle has always been the city that invents the future, and now we are partnering with one of our hometown companies to help drive innovations in transportation,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan. “As Seattle grows and public and private megaprojects limit capacity on our downtown streets, this pilot will help us better understand how we can ensure the delivery of goods while making space on our streets for transit, bikes, and pedestrians. We are eager to learn how pilots like these can help build a city of the future with fewer cars, more transit and less carbon pollution.”