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Transportation

Santa Monica to pilot delivery zones for zero-emissions vehicles

If this catches on, diesel- and gas-powered delivery vehicles will no longer be delivering to residents at some California addresses. The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) and the city of Santa Monica have launched what they said is the first Zero Emissions Delivery Zone (ZEDZ) in the nation.

The zone encompasses 1 square mile roughly bound by Wilshire Boulevard on the north, Lincoln Boulevard on the east, Dewey Street (city boundary) on the south and the Pacific Ocean on the west. The zone covers ZIP codes 90401, 90405 and 90403 and is home to 15,850 residents and two primary commercial districts — downtown Santa Monica (including Third Street Promenade) and Main Street — that together employ roughly 28,900 workers in a wide range of industries. 

California has been pushing ahead with zero-emissions vehicle goals, calling for a zero-emissions zones covering people and goods movement by 2030 and Los Angeles is requiring 100% of urban delivery vehicles to be zero emission by 2035.

The World Economic Forum has said that without intervention, the number of delivery vehicles in the top 100 global cities will increase by 36% until 2030, and emissions from this traffic will increase 32%.

The ZEDZ is a pilot program and a voluntary one at that, but it has the support of many major companies, including Ikea, Axlehire, Guayaki, Alsco Uniforms, Foodcycle, Shopify and REEF Technology. The firms will voluntarily deploy and test zero-emission modes for last-mile delivery in Santa Monica’s downtown, Main Street and Ocean Park neighborhoods, LACI said. Tech providers include LACI startups Automotus, Maxwell Vehicles, Circuit and FreeWire as well as collaborations with Coco, Kiwibot, Tortoise, Rollo, Blue Systems, Fluid Truck, Motiv Power Systems, Nissan, ROUSH CleanTech and Lighting eMotors

Read: California regulators to fleets: Buy those electric trucks

The idea for ZEDZ was born out of LACI’s Transportation Electrification Partnership (TEP), which brings together government officials, local leaders and industry to accelerate transportation electrification and zero-emissions goods movement in advance of the 2028 Olympic and Paralymic Games, which Los Angeles will host.

“With the explosion of last-mile delivery of goods and food during the pandemic, the zero-emissions delivery zone in Santa Monica will help us both advance policy and technology solutions needed to reduce air and climate pollution, noise and congestion while creating a blueprint for other cities to follow,” said Matt Petersen, CEO of LACI and chair of TEP. “In addition to helping advance the bold goals of the Transportation Electrification Partnership, the pilot will also help unlock innovation from startup entrepreneurs, strengthen local small businesses and grow the green workforce.”


“At IKEA, we believe in a zero-emission transportation future. The Santa Monica ZEDZ pilot program will offer an opportunity to showcase the demand for zero-emissions delivery and serve as an example to other retailers and cities looking for a model to replicate. Groundbreaking solutions begin with a simple idea, and we are excited to showcase these solutions with this pilot program.”

Steve Moelk, Ikea Group


The program is working to advance the Zero Emissions 2028 Roadmap targets, which include zero-emissions zones, congesting pricing and reducing vehicle miles traveled.

“As Nissan accelerates our journey to carbon neutrality, we are proud to build on our partnership with LACI to support Zero Emissions Delivery Zone pilots. This pilot comes at a critical time as delivery service continues to increase,” said Rachel Nguyen, director of Nissan Future Lab and a TEP member. “With the Zero Emissions Delivery Zone we will support local businesses and further our shared goal of reducing air pollution, GHG emissions and improving safety.” 

Read: California ban on diesel opens new front in hydrogen vs. electric trucking battle

Technology from Automotus will monitor and analyze vehicle activity in each curb zone during the pilot, anonymizing the data to study the impact the ZEDZ has on delivery efficiency, safety, congestion and emissions. Real-time parking data will be made available to delivery drivers as part of the project.

“At Ikea, we believe in a zero-emission transportation future. The Santa Monica ZEDZ pilot program will offer an opportunity to showcase the demand for zero-emissions delivery and serve as an example to other retailers and cities looking for a model to replicate. Groundbreaking solutions begin with a simple idea, and we are excited to showcase these solutions with this pilot program,” said Steve Moelk from the Ikea Group.

The zone will have up to 20 zero-emission loading priority curb areas for the program’s participants. Santa Monica was selected for the pilot from a group of communities and neighborhoods in Los Angeles County that responded to a request for information.

Click for more Modern Shipper articles by Brian Straight.

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