In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast, I have a great chat with Beate Kubitz, a Transport Consultant and Future Mobility Researcher in the UK. This podcast episode is another audio from the YouTube series I’ve been doing catching up with previous podcast guests during the pandemic. We recorded this chat in May 2020 but I’m definitely going to get Beate back on the podcast to give us all an update down the track.
In this episode, Beate tells us all about her passion for transport and the way it impacts our lives, plus her interest in the innovations happening in the Mobility space. She then tells us about the Cargo Bike Delivery Service that came about out of a desire to meet demand for deliveries in the early days of the pandemic lockdown. We talk about the challenges of regular delivery models, such as vehicle access in very narrow lanes, and how the cargo bike idea was initially a crisis response to make sure people in the local community were able to access food during lockdown but has now sparked long term possibilities in terms of future mobility behaviour change and reducing reliance on private vehicle use. We discuss the volunteer model they have set up and the way it works with the local shops, as well as the changes to how we shop long term and the new business models that will be required in the future for grocers and shops, and potentially for the cargo bike delivery service too. Beate then tells us about the data she’s been keeping on the delivery service, and the impact it’s made not only in reducing emissions compared to a delivery van, but also the journeys people haven’t made in their car to get groceries. We finish up talking a little bit about Beate’s normal business and how that’s changed during COVID, but we’ll definitely have to have a follow up conversation to dive into that more. As always, we hope you enjoyed listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it!
What we cover in this episode:
- Beate’s passion for transport and the way it impacts our lives
- Her interest in the innovations happening in the Mobility space
- The need Beate saw in her local community that sparked her idea for the Cargo Bike Delivery Service
- About the service, the volunteer model they have set up and the way it works with the local shops
- The long term possibilities in terms of future mobility behaviour change and reducing reliance on private vehicle use
- How the way we shop is changing long term
- The new business models that will be required in the future for grocers and shops
- The potential for new business models for the cargo bike delivery service
- The data Beate has been keeping on the delivery service
- The impact it’s made not only on reducing emissions compared to a delivery van, but also the individual car journeys people haven’t made
- Pros and cons of cargo bike and van deliveries
- How Beate and her team cope with bike deliveries and variations in weather
- A bit about Beate’s normal business and how that’s changed during COVID
“My immediate thought was, I wonder if we can do this differently? This is the only time we’ve probably got an opportunity to see whether an electric cargo bike could actually meet the demand for deliveries.”
“At the moment, the way that we shop is very distanced, everyone is two meters apart and queues are used to go into supermarkets and you move around in a single direction. So [food] shopping has become slower and a lot more drawn out…as we move to the new normal, I don’t think some shops are ever going to be able to go back to their old operating method because they’re too small and you can’t achieve that two meter distance.”
“One of the things that’s really interested me about the cargo icon delivery is reflecting on all of those people who mostly would have driven into the town centre to go and shop. So I’ve collected my mileage and C02 emissions avoided, but actually I suspect that that’s been much bigger if you count journeys into Todmorden that people have avoided making because they [would have been] making a one-off, ‘there and back again’ type journey in a car.”
“I’ve always wondered about what the traffic implications for a move from shopping to [grocery] delivery would be. And I’m really coming down on the positive side that actually delivery reduces traffic, particularly delivery from a cargo bike. It’s a no brainer.”
“I don’t think that anyone really realised, including myself, that it would be so perfect for so many of our narrow streets…which are kind of like tiny lanes between the backs of houses so that [delivery vans can’t] go down there. So the [electric cargo bike] has been more appropriate than I ever imagined.
“I’ve been thinking about how a cargo bike delivery service compares to a van-based delivery service and wondering how speed limits would make a difference, because if you’re in a 20 mile an hour zone, then a van and cargo bike basically travel at the same speed. So particularly in city and urban areas where you’ve got low speed zones, how a cargo bike compares in terms of actual delivery speed, and because of the parking advantage on a cargo bike and also the narrow lanes and being able to use cycling infrastructure where you have it.”
Find the full show notes at: www.mysmart.community
Connect with Beate on LinkedIn
Connect with me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Perk Digital.