The Boom in Online Deliveries Complicates On-Street Parking


The Boom in Online Deliveries Complicates On-Street Parking

The boom in online deliveries and fraud complicates the current management of parking spaces reserved for loading and unloading.

The cuts applied to the loading and unloading areas, added to the increasing demand related to online shopping, and the fraudulent use of these areas, leads cities to implement technological solutions to ease the control of reserved parking spaces to tackle chaos and congestions.

The urban distribution of goods can account for up to 40 percent of total traffic in cities.

The loading and unloading spaces are for the use of the carriers. The purpose of these spots is to facilitate the work of the delivery drivers and to relieve traffic in areas with complicated circulation and a shortage of parking spaces. 


The reality in the cities: 

According to a study of the Sustainable Mobility Index of Spain’s Provincial Capitals, carried out by Idencity, in collaboration with Aecoc, the urban distribution of goods can account for up to 40 percent of total traffic in cities. If we add the exponential growth generated by the COVID19 pandemic to the rise in online shopping, we are talking about a huge delivery boom. 

Local governments are trying to adjust and adapt to this new reality, looking for new solutions to speed up an important service for citizens and companies, but at the same time trying to avoid how this giant wave could harm mobility and local sustainability plans. The situation forces cities to look for alternatives so that city centers do not collapse and deliveries can be carried out successfully.

Alicante City has 1,228 loading and unloading spots, which is totally insufficient nowadays, to address the growing impact on parcel delivery. Several solutions have been implemented to relieve the oversaturation in loading and unloading parking areas. One plan consists of making the last stretch of a delivery through other means of transport such as the bicycle or even walking. None of the initiatives tested so far gives an answer to all the demand.

When you add the bad use of the loading and unloading areas to increased package deliveries, it results in a detrimental situation for mobility in the city. The usurpation of these places by unauthorized cars results in vehicles double parked, causing traffic issues and chaos. Drivers in general are harmed by excessive traffic and difficulty in reaching their destinations. Contamination indicators threaten all the municipality targets for reducing pollutant emissions. On the other hand, the citizens are dissatisfied by the chaos in their environment and suffer from excessive noise and air pollution.


The reality for freight forwarders:

Being a package delivery person it is not an easy task these days. They have to deal with cutbacks in loading and unloading zones, time restrictions, and misuse of parking zones, as well as robberies and job insecurity. Over the last decade, more than 3,000 loading and unloading spaces have been cut in Barcelona.

Carriers or freight forwarders depend on finding a free place in the loading and unloading areas near the delivery point in order to meet the required delivery times and customer expectations. Once parked, they also have to deal with the time constraints imposed on the reserved areas, which are sometimes not enough to meet the delivery deadline. They work with established times for each delivery and when they do not find free space to properly park the vehicle, they have no choice but to resort to unauthorized options. According to data collected by Citet, the Innovation Center for Logistics and Transport, more than 65 percent of goods delivery procedures are carried out outside the Loading and Unloading areas.

Jesus Estarlich is a delivery man and explains that “…once I was even fined. The loading and unloading spaces were occupied by unauthorized vehicles that were having breakfast at the bar in front, and they refused to remove their car. As I couldn’t park there, I had to leave my vehicle wherever I could. So, I got a fine, while the cars got away scot-free”.


The solution:

Achieving compliance with the regulations of loading and unloading areas is essential to creating fluid mobility in cities and a good coexistence between citizens and services. The key to success is to apply the necessary technology to the process for efficient control of the use of the loading and unloading parking spots by authorized users and carry out immediate penalization when infractions occur. 

Controlling the spaces reserved for loading and unloading consists of identifying the users parked in each space and generating alerts when fraudulent use is detected. It allows for drastically reduced violations and increased vehicle rotations in the spots, favorably affecting availability. 

This increased availability is transmitted to authorized users through ParkTime, increasing the possibilities and speed of finding a parking space. On the other hand, the real-time visualization of the alerts allows for optimizing the control operations and resources for management to be able to prioritize areas with more violations. When the user feels he’s being controlled, he tends to respect the regulations. It has a clear pedagogical effect that is the key to achieve a more sustainable mobility. 

 Several Spanish cities have already implemented solutions to improve the performance and use of loading and unloading areas in their localities. There are already 2,000 smartly managed parking spaces and international projects in the pipeline.

The Author is Urbotica’s Marc Boher. He can be reached at

Article contributed by:
Marc Boher
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