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Santa Monica to Test Nation's First 'Zero Emissions Delivery Zone'

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Lookout Staff

March 1, 2021 -- Santa Monica will become the first city in the nation to test a system that replaces large fume-spewing delivery trucks with non-polluting vehicles in the city's most congested area.

The Zero Emissions Delivery Zone (ZE Delivery Zone) -- created in partnership with Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) -- provides priority curb access for zero emission delivery vehicles in the Downtown, Main Street and Ocean Park neighborhoods.

The one-square mile pilot zone -- which is home to 15,850 residents and two primary commercial districts -- brings together more than 15 partners to voluntarily deploy and test the latest modes for last-mile delivery.

"To reduce and ultimately eliminate our carbon emissions, we need to look at all aspects of the transportation sector," said Mayor Sue Himmelrich.

"This pilot with LACI will use smaller and cleaner technologies to deliver goods instead of the large diesel-fueled trucks we're used to seeing on our streets,” Himmelrich said.

The most congested core of the zone -- which stretches from Wilshire Boulevard on the north to the Venice border, and Lincoln Boulevard on the east to the ocean -- will include as many as 20 zero emission loading priority curb areas.

The technologies needed to create the zone will allow the City and LACI to "explore how best to meet operational needs, create local green jobs and improve quality of life," officials said.

The pilot builds on the last-mile delivery systems popularized during the COVID-19 emergency and prepares the greater Los Angeles region for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games, LACI officials said.

Santa Monica's zone “will help us both advance policy and technology solutions needed to reduce air and climate pollution, noise, and congestion while creating a blueprint for other cities to follow,” said Matt Petersen, CEO of LACI and Chair of TEP.

“The pilot will also help unlock innovation from startup entrepreneurs, strengthen local small businesses and grow the green workforce,” Petersen said.

As an immediate bonus, the pilot is expected to allow restaurants to "keep higher margins of sales on delivered food items," Himmelrich said.

"This is coming at a critical moment in our recovery and we look forward to new insights on zero-emissions delivery and the possibilities beyond our one square mile test zone," the Mayor said.

The zone will use electric micromobility methods to deliver food and parcels and medium-duty and light-duty electric delivery vehicles for goods, officials said.

It also will make available the nation's first "commercial medium-duty electric truck-sharing and charging" for local small businesses.

The pilot program will use technology from Automotus to "monitor and analyze all vehicle activity in each curb zone while protecting privacy," officials said.

It also will collect "anonymized data for studying impact on delivery efficiency, safety, congestion and emissions" and make "real-time parking availability data available to ZE Delivery Zone drivers."

To achieve the Zero Emissions 2028 Roadmap targets, LACI and TEP members, including Santa Monica, have pushed for policies that create zero-emissions zones, institute congestion pricing and reduce vehicle miles traveled.

Santa Monica's zone will "provide insights for other cities, regulators and industry leaders for zero emissions zones and reducing long-term exposure to pollution," officials said.

Generated by LACI’s Transportation Electrification Partnership (TEP), the project includes local government officials, utilities, state regulators, automakers, industry leaders and labor.

Among the 15 partners are Ikea, Axlehire, Guayaki, Alsco Uniforms, Foodcycle, Shopify and REEF Technologies, as well as tech providers that include LACI startups Automotus, Maxwell Vehicles, Circuit and FreeWire.

The pilot also includes collaborations with Coco, Kiwibot, Tortoise, Rollo, Blue Systems, Fluid Truck, Motiv Power Systems, Nissan, ROUSH CleanTech and Lighting eMotors.

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