Congestion: Myth 2


E-commerce has a zero net effect on congestion.


Online shopping is putting more delivery trucks on the road and increasing congestion, particularly at the curb.

It was long thought that the rise of e-commerce would be, at worst, neutral in terms of congestion. The theory was that any increase in delivery truck traffic would be more than offset by a reduction in solo trips to the mall in private vehicles. Changes in consumer behavior enabled by e-commerce have upended this expectation, however. Fast, free shipping, which has become the standard for online sellers, has not only increased orders but also raised the number of single package deliveries. In addition, about 30% of online orders end up being returned, compared to 9% for traditional sales. This creates extra trips. The problem is particularly acute in neighborhoods where congestion is already bad, like urban cores. There, delivery companies compete for space at the curb, often double parking and obstructing traffic.


The National Parking Association commissioned a top-10 consulting firm to produce a report on reducing congestion. The result: “Parking is a solution to congestion.”

The report, “An Ecosystem Approach to Reducing Congestion,” reaffirms the role of parking in our cities. For the full study, visit WeAreParking.org/Congestion.

Post Pandemic Trend

In these post pandemic times, online shopping has increased. It went from 7.4% of sales in 2015 to nearly 22% of sales by the end of 2023.

The basic cause of congestion is friction among vehicles in the traffic flow. Up to a certain amount of traffic, vehicles can move fairly freely with their speed restricted only by speed limits, the frequency of intersections, etc. With the increase of delivery vehicles however, regular drivers are increasingly being slowed down by commercial delivery trucks. Lack of loading lanes, narrow streets and scarce curb space are all issues for delivery vehicles.

For urban citizens, the increase of delivery vehicles has affected the livability of their cities. Urban citizens increasingly want streets to be accessible, and pedestrians and bicyclists to be protected and safe.

Robotic Parking Systems: Automated Car Parking

The problem of congestion requires a multi-prong approach to solve. Robotic Parking Systems has been advocating better parking options as one of the solutions to reduce congestion since 2001. Parking garages in cities are typically unsightly structures. The automated car parking of Robotic Parking Systems offers smaller garages with equal parking capacity as well as facades that can blend with any neighborhood.

If you are interested in learning more about how automated car parking could integrate with your project, reach out to our experts below. With some basic information about your project, our experts will create custom parking plans for your consideration at no cost and no risk.

Contact Robotic Parking Systems

© 2018 PwC. All rights reserved.
Produced with the participation of the National Parking Association

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