Electric Bicycle Mail Delivery Program 2.0
UW Mailing Services’ Electric Bicycle Mail Delivery Program has been a huge success. For the last three years, UW Mailing Services avoided using mail delivery trucks to deliver campus mail with the implementation of electric cargo bicycles. When UW Sustainability won the Gold Standard Rating for University campuses, and UW Mailing Services’ Electric bicycles were mentioned in the award. Inevitably, this CSF sponsored program has had a positive impact on both the environment and the community, and several universities and organizations have reached out to learn about the program and to carry on the mission for sustainability. In order to further expand the program, to meet customers’ increasing demand, and to expose the sustainability impact to others, UW Mailing Services plans to launch a 2.0 program. In order to do so, Mailing Services is requesting the Campus Sustainability Fund’s help to purchase two large Rhino-Berlin bicycle cargo boxes for $6000.
When the university shut down operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UW Mailing Services took on the role of central receiving for the entire campus. Freight and packages that would have normally been delivered to department buildings by a private carrier were instead delivered by the UW Mailing Services bicycle team. Meanwhile, bike deliveries to the UW Medical Center and the Seattle Children’s Hospital increased as well. The Mailing Services bike team quickly discovered that they would need to purchase larger cargo boxes in order to accommodate the increased package volume and still avoid using trucks for mail delivery.
From June 2020 to Oct 2020, the Mailing Services bicycle team has delivered a total of 14,111 packages. The delivery bicycles have traveled over 8,209 miles with a team average of 75 miles per day. Over just five months, the bicycles' environmental efficiency has far surpassed that of the mail trucks by eliminating the need for 821 gallons of diesel, which would have translated to $1,937.32 in fuel costs and 3.6 tons of CO2 being released into the atmosphere. The new cargo boxes will increase the carriage capacity and optimize bicycle delivery. Once the new cargo boxes are implemented, the numbers of packages delivered per mile ridden will increase as well as the amount of CO2 emission avoided. It will be a good indicator showing Mailing Services’ commitment to the UW Sustainability Action Plan.
The project will be managed by both student workers and staff at the UW Mailing Services. The students will be working on CSF reports and social media promotions, as well as running various kinds of metrics to visualize the electric bicycles’ impact. After the CSF funds are depleted, Mailing Services will fund the remaining maintenance cost for the program.
Many students have been highly involved in the 1.0 program in the past. Mailing Services intends to keep students’ high involvement in the program by clarifying their responsibilities such as running metrics, handling social media promotion, and participating in outreach events.
The safety of the staff and UW community is the first priority of the electric bicycle delivery program. All current riders are considered career bicycle couriers with more than 5 years experience before joining the UW bicycle team. Mailing Services’ biking crew goes through riding safety education upon onboarding and consistently reviews safety procedures through wabikes.org. Each rider is equipped with safety equipment including reflective jackets, pants, gloves, helmets, etc. All student riders are provided extensive training and are only sent out on independent deliveries after stating they are 100% comfortable operating the electric cargo bicycle. All Mailing Services staff, including mail delivery bikers, are required to wear masks at the Publication Services Building and on campus when making deliveries. Mailing Services’ mail delivery service is usually contactless, which means that the bikers are not exposed to UW staff or patients at the hospitals.
There are currently two students involved in this program. Jimmy Tan, who has worked at the UW Mailing Services Mail Preparation for over 2 years, took over the project facilitator position for Electric Bicycle Mail Delivery Program 1.0 in Fall 2019.
Fabian Villarreal is also actively involved in this program. Fabian is a project specialist intern at UW Creative Communication whose expertise is in promotion and social media marketing. Fabian is updating the program’s social media pages and working on new signage for the sides of the cargo boxes.
Dalika Ung was highly involved in the Electric Bicycle Mail Delivery Program 1.0, where she had been keeping track of the program metrics. For example, she was in charge of calculating the number of miles a bicycle had traveled as well as the number of carbon emissions avoided. Dalika graduated in June 2020 but her job will be turned over to Jimmy and Fabian.
Mailing Services student bicyclist Natalie Schwartz graduated in the spring of 2020. There is a possibility that Mailing Services will hire additional student cyclists when it is safe for all students and staff to return to campus. UW Mailing Services staff are WFSE contract classified employees and the use of student labor can only be utilized when there is an excess of work that cannot be completed by the union staff.
Jimmy Tan and Natalie Schwartz both represented the Electric Bicycle Mail Delivery Program at UW sustainability and transportation events and provided outreach and developed partnerships with other UW departments and organizations.
Education & Outreach:
In addition to the daily exposure the bicycles have to the 80,000 students, staff, and faculty working on campus and in the medical centers the project facilitator would display and promote the bicycles at all sustainability and transportation related events. The project facilitator will educate the public on the efficiency of the new cargo boxes as well as promoting sustainability for CSF.
The program specialist intern will be dedicated to promoting the program on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter by posting photos and program metrics. These posts and the subsequent UW Sustainability reposts will increase online exposure and expand the program's audience and a greater number of people will be able to see the significance of the electric bicycles and cargo boxes.
In the past, UW Creative Communication has done graphic design for electric bicycles to promote bicycles and sustainability. Mailing Services will be taking advantage of the Creative Communication department’s support to potentially design more posters for promotion. These posters could be attached to the larger new cargo boxes and displayed at various events.
With the increase in exposure of the sustainable electric bicycles and cargo boxes, Mailing Services anticipates that additional schools and organizations will reach out to Mailing Services. UW Daily has contacted Mailing Services to inquire about the possibility of having a Podcast to discuss the first Electric Bicycle Mail Delivery program, which would include the upgrade of the cargo boxes for the second program. Universities such as the University of Buffalo, Portland State University, University of Houston, Indiana University at Bloomington and UCLA have already reached out to UW Mailing Services to learn about the Electric Bicycles Mail Delivery Program. Mailing Services would like to be able to highlight the improvements that the new program will make.
- Energy Use
The long term management of the project will be done by the staff and student workers of both UW Mailing Services and Creative Communications. Sam Somphet, who is the Finance, Accounting, & IT Manager, will be managing any funding from CSF. After purchasing two cargo boxes, UW Mailing Services will use the remaining CSF funding to cover any unexpected costs and will fund all maintenance of the program after the CSF funding is depleted. Mailing Services supervisor Doug Stevens will continue to manage the Electric Bicycle Mail Delivery Program and will oversee the purchase of the cargo boxes. UW Mailing Services is currently working with UW Grounds to incorporate a bicycle maintenance and repair area that will be located on the first floor of the Publication Services building. It is anticipated that there could be potential maintenance work for the cargo boxes as well as other bicycle components. All repair and maintenance of the bicycles will be done by a certified mechanic from G&O Family Cyclery.
The student project facilitator will be keeping track of the metrics quarterly and report to CSF, while the project specialist intern will be working on the social media promotion and graphic design. They as well as the future student biker will represent the bicycle program at multiple UW events to introduce the new cargo boxes to the public.
The increased demand for delivery services to UW Campus, UW Medical Center and multiple Children’s Hospital locations has the current cargo bicycles operating at full capacity and can result in multiple trips to the same locations or the use of delivery vehicles.
Delivery vehicles utilized by Mailing Services contribute to the environmental problems of global warming, climate change, noise pollution, and dependence on fossil fuels. Mailing Services vehicles burn both diesel and gasoline which could release six metric tons of CO2 as well as other harmful toxins into the atmosphere. The size of the delivery vehicles and the noise of the internal combustion engines contribute to the problem of noise pollution and vehicle congestion on campus.
The implementation of larger cargo boxes will limit the need for vehicle deliveries and help mitigate the environmental problems associated with vehicle delivery and support the UW SAP goal of the 45% Reduction of GreenHouse Gas Emissions by 2030. The continued use of cargo bicycles will also help the UW achieve another gold sustainability rating from STARS.
Explain how the impacts will be measured:
The impacts of the new cargo boxes will be measured through the comparative amount of CO2 emissions saved monthly. From June 2020 to Oct 2020, there have been 14111 packages delivered through Mailing Services’ bicycles, which was an average of 129 packages per day. The bicycles have traveled over 8209 miles, average 75 miles per day, and have saved 821 gallons of diesel which costs about $1937.32. Furthermore, 3.6 tons CO2 have been offset from the atmosphere. These metrics were calculated through carbonfootprint.com by inputting projected miles traveled and vehicle models into an algorithm.
Doug Stevens, the Mailing Services supervisor, will oversee students and staff as they continue to keep track of monthly metrics and record the number of packages delivered by electric bicycles monthly. The Mailing Services student workers will keep track of fuel savings and the amount of CO2 output avoided. The student project facilitator will consolidate different kinds of metrics and helpful information to report to CSF quarterly.
Mailing Services has been working towards UW Sustainability Action Plan action X, which is a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emission. The metrics will indicate the bike program’s impact on the environment and progress towards the Action X goal.
This funding request is a: Grant
If this is a loan, what is the estimated payback period?:
|Cost per Item
|rhino cargo box large for Bullitt from larryvsharry
|rhino standard colour graphite black RAL 9011 matt
|shipping and packaging via air freight - door to door - to Seattle/WA
|Estimated Completion Date
|All timeline items are contingent on when we get the fund in hand
|For example: 12/01/2020
|Order Cargo boxes
|Manufacture + Delivery
|Update C2 website
|Continue metric tracking