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Air Quality

Published on June 21st, 2020 | by Susanna Schick


Santa Monica To Pilot Zero Emissions Delivery Zones

June 21st, 2020 by  

The city of Santa Monica’s main business district has been chosen as the pilot for the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator’s new Neighborhood Zero Emissions Delivery Zone. The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) has put out an RFI (request for information) to companies far and wide who may have the technological solutions they need to solve this challenge. It’s one of the first tools in their Transportation Electrification Partnership, which you must have read about here.

Apply to submit your product, service, or startup (if it’s at the Market Access Program phase in the firm’s growth) by June 29, 2020!


LA traffic, photo by Jeff Turner (CC BY 2.0). And you should see the truck traffic in Vernon…

Direct from LACI:

This RFI is the first step towards identifying the appropriate mobility solutions for a voluntary zero emissions delivery zone. In particular, LACI and Santa Monica are interested in assessing the following types of technologies:

  • E-cargo bikes and other micromobility devices for last mile delivery of parcels, groceries and food:  Vehicles, maintenance, infrastructure and charging (fixed and mobile), customer interface for check in/check out, fleet management services, etc.
  • Curb management, including digital curb management, prioritization, signage, driver booking of curb spots, enforcement, etc.
  • Light-duty and medium-duty electric vehicles (EV) used for last mile delivery of parcels and furniture:  Vehicles, EV maintenance, charging (fixed and mobile), fleet management services, mini delivery depots, charge management, etc.
  • Measurement and tracking solutions for noise and air pollution (including hyper localized), traffic congestion, delivery volumes, telematics, enforcement, etc.
  • Other innovative solutions that can help make a voluntary last mile delivery zone succeed (business model solutions, policy solutions, technology solutions, information and best practice sharing platforms or clearinghouses, etc.)

Do you have a great app for tracking emissions? Not just air pollution, but noise pollution and congestion, too?

What about a great logistics program that can help a broad range of delivery companies coordinate their schedules, so they’re not all on the same block at once, holding up traffic?

Got a great e-cargo bike? Any other micromobility solution that can work for those constant trips to and from the Amazon distribution center? LACI wants to know about it!

And of course the vehicles. In our interview with LACI’s Matt Petersen, we learned that there are currently at least twelve manufacturers working on or currently selling medium-duty electric trucks. He also explained to me how they learned that MetroLA’s “oh so very clean!” CNG buses were actually polluting. I was very surprised to learn that these buses actually emit a lot of gas while idling at stops. Which is why they switched to electric. While so many other municipalities are still running diesel buses!

But back to delivery vehicles — also a massive source of pollution, as they are usually diesel, and more often than not, barely able to pass smog. Some shouldn’t be on the road at all. Some parts of Los Angeles are so choked with old diesel vehicles, you may as well be in some European city in the 1990s. Plus, with so many people shopping from home these days, the congestion of these trucks has become unbearable in a city which already suffers from a bad case of the cars. Which is why my favorite part of this plan is the vehicle sharing. The baker only needs the truck for X hours, then the grocery distributor for Y hours, etc. Small businesses with deliveries all over town can share an EV to get the job done at a fraction of the cost of owning and refueling a diesel truck.

Fully electric BYC delivery truck, courtesy BYD.

I also asked Matt Petersen whether he thought the general public would get behind this. As any Angeleno knows, neighborhood councils are notorious for putting the best-laid plans to waste. He said the response was great when they reached out to neighborhoods and Business Improvement Districts in Los Angeles County.

After a few months of delicious silence in a city once roaring with vehicle traffic, city dwellers are very excited about anything that will quiet the city. It would be great to see this in Downtown LA. It’d be even nicer in Vernon, CA, but that will probably never happen.

Read all about the pilot and apply to submit your technology here


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About the Author

Susanna is passionate about anything fast and electric. As long as it's only got two wheels. Which is why she's now based in Barcelona, Spain and happy to live in a city moving rapidly toward complete freedom from cars. She covers electric motorcycle racing events, urban mobility, test rides electric motorcycles, and interviews industry leaders.

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