Report: Mass. food delivery trips double during the pandemic, researchers urge greener transportation options

The number of food deliveries ordered through apps DoorDash, UberEats and Grubhub doubled in Massachusetts during the pandemic. Researchers at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the planning agency for cities in the Greater Boston area, say the increase is contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion.

Researchers estimate that Massachusetts will see 105 million cases in 2021, up from about 45 million in 2019. Those food delivery trips surpassed his ride-hailing trips from apps like Uber and Lyft, which he reached 39.7 million in Massachusetts in 2021. Boston ranks him third in the United States for her per capita spending on food delivery.

Expedited food delivery by car has considerable negative impacts, including increased traffic congestion, emissions-related curbside idling, and unsafe double parking in bus and bike lanes, according to the report. understood.

“Data suggests that fast food delivery can have a higher impact per trip than ride-hailing,” the report authors wrote.

The Massachusetts study was unable to obtain detailed data to assess which modes of transport are most commonly used for these deliveries, making it difficult to fully measure the impact of increased emissions. was.

MAPC researchers have deduced some findings from their 2021 study of food deliveries in London. ” [London] Allyson Felix, one of the authors of the Massachusetts report, said: “We found that the moped and the passenger car were five times and eleven times more greenhouse gas emissions per meal than his on the bike, respectively.”

In Massachusetts, Felix and her colleagues estimate that most food order deliveries involve traveling about one to five miles. She says this is an opportunity to take advantage of more climate-friendly modes of transport. “We try to encourage other modes of transportation such as e-bikes, bicycles, scooters, mopeds and even walking,” she says.

The increased idling time of vehicles associated with food delivery can result in significant greenhouse gas emissions. A ride-hailing car picking up someone is parked for about 1-5 minutes, whereas a food delivery pickup can be parked or idle for up to 10 minutes before the driver picks up the food. was found in a British study.

Felix encourages delivery apps to share data with local governments to track their emissions and impact on traffic congestion. These requirements are already enforced by ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft.

“at least, [the requirement] It should include data on exact trip origin, destination curb time, time of day and trip data,” said Travis Pollack, senior transportation planner at MAPC and co-author of the report. Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft already need to share similar data.

Despite the increase in food delivery, gig workers are often paid less than salaried workers in similar roles. They make up about 5-10% of the state workforce within the state.

“Research found that express food delivery workers were more likely to be non-white, young, immigrant and low-income,” Pollack says.

Many earn less than $16 an hour, he said, and report poor overall physical and mental health compared to salaried workers. Pollack and his colleagues recommend that the platform provide workers with fair compensation and safety training.

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