KIRO 7 News

2018-05-24

By Graham Johnson

Most people see a package theft from a front porch as an annoying crime.

In the freight business, it’s called a failed first delivery, a term that also applies to packages needing a signature when no one’s home.

Barbara Ivanov of the University of Washington’s Urban Freight Lab says failed first deliveries happen up to 15 percent of the time.

“When we bring you the good you just ordered on Amazon or Costco or Nordstrom, you expect it to show up when it was promised to you,” Ivanov said.

So, for the first time in the United States or Europe, Ivanov led a test of what’s called a common carrier locker system in a public building.

Some workers in the Seattle Municipal Tower got their packages delivered to smart lockers, which are like Amazon lockers, except any company can use them.

“It’s beautiful, right? What does that common carrier locker system do? It means anyone can use it, it’s not branded,” Ivanov said.

The lockers eliminated failed first deliveries and helped with another problem.

As Seattle grows and more people buy online, freight parking zones are in high demand.

Because of the lockers, delivery drivers eliminated elevator rides to multiple floors, and cut their time parked in the loading bay by 78 percent.

“There’s a lot of good things that occur when that happens,” Ivanov said.

Ivanov says reducing failed deliveries could save truck trips, which is good for traffic and the environment.

She said Sound Transit is now considering hosting common carrier lockers at train stations.