Off-Peak Delivery (OPD) programs may offer relief for traffic management problems in cities, which are often caused by last-mile deliveries. These deliveries make up more than 80 percent of all freight traffic in urban areas. This is largely due to population growth, higher employment rates, globalization, and increased consumer demand. More deliveries mean more congestion, more pollution, a lack of parking, and circulation inefficiencies. With pressure from residents, local businesses, and environmental groups building, it’s imperative for cities to find sustainable ways to mitigate these issues.

Cities are currently dealing with the problem in a variety of ways—imposing access-time restrictions, vehicle-size restrictions, added traffic signs and signals, etc. An OPD program is another solution that offers many benefits, including increased productivity for carriers, consistent delivery times for receivers, and a reduced environmental impact. Off-peak or off-hours deliveries are those taking place between 7:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. OPD is a type of traffic demand management that incentivizes businesses to accept deliveries during this time window. Many major cities are working to implement OPD programs to alleviate traffic management issues and reduce their carbon footprint.

SINC and UIC Launch a Chicago Pilot Project

Supply Chain Innovation Network of Chicago (SINC) and the Urban Transportation Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago recently developed an OPD pilot project in the Windy City. The two organizations are working diligently with transportation professionals and city officials to ensure a successful OPD program. To express interest in the ongoing work associated with SINC’s OPD initiative, call Adam Lomasney at (248) 495-7875 or email

New York City Pilot Project Results

A pilot project implemented in New York City resulted in significant advantages. Pedestrians, cyclists, and non-freight drivers benefited from faster travel speeds and less interference from delivery vehicles. Analysts involved with the project said that implementing a long-term OPD program in Manhattan would save highway users 3-5 minutes per trip. Carriers switching to an off-hours schedule would save approximately 48 minutes per delivery and benefit from fewer parking fines. In total, carriers could save upwards of 30% in total delivery costs by making the switch.

Receivers also benefited from the OPD pilot project in New York City. Typically, store managers need to keep backup inventory in case of shortages. Those who participated in the OPD project found their supplies waiting for them when they arrived in the morning. The increased consistency and reliability caused many participants to continue with off-hours deliveries after the pilot project ended. Similar pilot projects have been run in other major cities, many leading to a longer term commitment to OPD.