Recent research projects have shown that there is potential to raise the sustainability of urban goods distribution. The commercial and private traffic generated by courier-, express- and parcel-logistics can be substantially reduced by simplifying the existing delivery processes. These turn out to be very complex and problematic, especially if it takes multiple tries or additional personal effort to achieve a successful delivery. Due to the continuous growth of e- the commerce market, the demand for CEP-services is expected to continue further. Therefore, logistics service providers are already implementing automated pick-up and drop-off stations to overcome the problems related with the first-/last mile of urban goods distribution. Unfortunately, these systems are exclusive to the single service provider and hence cannot be used by anyone else. This has a negative impact on the efficiency and the availability of pick-up and drop-off stations.
The purpose of the project called 'Skalierbares, offenes Waren-Austausch-System' (SoWAS) is to develop an automated and scalable pick-up and drop-off station with the following characteristics: located in public or semi-public space, operated by a non-competing company and usable by any logistic service provider or private person. In addition to normal parcel pick-up and drop-off provided by commercial logistic service providers, the system is open to use by the 'sharing economy' to deposit and share goods and is supposed to support new and innovative services.
The innovation of open collaborative pick-up and drop-off stations are able to provide a more flexible and efficient utilization and can generate a positive scale effect. If the scalable and open pick-up and drop-off stations is located in public or semi-public space, an increased efficiency and can acceptance be expected, due to the larger group of potential users. The applicants develop and test a prototype in a test area in the city of Graz to obtain a functional scalable, open pick-up and drop-off station for a wide range of applications. Therefore, the project analyses the technical, legal and economical requirements that turn out necessary for relevant services, specifies according business and operator models and coordinates all essential stakeholders. The overall goal is to reduce commercial and private traffic generated by courier-, express- and parcel-logistics in order to raise the sustainability of urban goods distribution. In addition to environmental aspects, the scalable and open pick-up and drop-off station can leverage new business and operator models and thus can be a benefit for companies as well as customers.