College of Washington’s City Freight Lab (UFL) Collaborates with Seattle Division of Transportation, REEF, BrightDrop, Coaster Cycles, and AxleHire to Pioneer Shared Sustainable Final-Mile Neighborhood Supply Hub


SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE) – The University of Washington’s Urban Freight Lab (UFL), in partnership with the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), has launched one of the first nationwide zero-emission last-mile delivery pilots in the Uptown neighborhood of Seattle, deploying technology and delivery companies like AxleHire, Coaster Cycles, BrightDrop and REEF.

With emission-free technologies, the pilot project entitled Seattle Neighborhood Delivery Hub enables innovative providers of last-mile solutions to test new vehicles, delivery models and technologies faster and more efficiently – all in the service of bringing new environmentally friendly solutions to market. These technologies are an important part of the city of Seattle’s climate reduction strategy outlined in its Transportation Electrification Blueprint, including a goal of 30 percent zero emissions by 2030.

The delivery center in the neighborhood houses:

  • A neighborhood kitchen that gives the area quick, low-emission access to some of their most popular delivery restaurants.

  • A shared parcel locker that enables neighbors to securely and contactless parcel delivery from all major parcel delivery companies in an energy-efficient model so that neighbors can cover their own last mile.

  • A cargo bike delivery service that enables emission-free transport of goods over the last mile with safe, neighborhood-friendly vehicles.

The neighborhood delivery hub and associated modes of transport are equipped with a number of sensors that provide detailed activity data. Hub sensors are provided by the University of Washington’s STAR Lab, a research facility for theories and applications of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). This data is analyzed by the Urban Freight Lab to evaluate energy savings and provide feedback to all participants as they work on improving their products and operating models.

Axle rental:

AxleHire provides the technology that makes it possible to deliver the packages to the end customer.

“We have all come together as people who are enthusiastic about more efficient and sustainable delivery methods in large metropolitan areas,” said Daniel Sokolovsky, founder of AxleHire. “In a world where logistics and supply chains are often part of the problem (e.g. global warming), we are excited to offer the last mile technology that is part of the solution.”


BrightDrop, a new company from General Motors, is contributing its EP1 drive-assisted electric pallets to optimize the movement of goods over short distances, for example from a delivery vehicle to a customer’s door.

“BrightDrop is proud to partner with these like-minded organizations in the neighborhood delivery center to test the feasibility of a more sustainable last mile delivery service for perishable goods. We see this as an opportunity to encourage people to step into a place of the imagination and see the world of delivery and logistics not as it is, but as it could sooner or later be, ”said Bob Tiderington, Senior Manager Strategy and operations at BrightDrop. “At a time when less contact means more, BrightDrop’s EP1 was developed to reduce touchpoints, costs and physical strain on workers.”

Seattle Department of Transportation:

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is working to create more sustainable ways for people, goods and services to move around our city. SDOT supports this pilot project, among other things, by approving the commercial use of public roads, curbs and sidewalks.

Seattle is in a unique position to lead the nation in electrifying the transportation sector with goals set out in the city’s transportation electrification plan, including that 30 percent of goods will be delivered in zero-emission vehicles by 2030.

“Over 60 percent of Seattle’s greenhouse gas emissions come from traffic, so we need to change our mobility to meet our commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050,” said Sam Zimbabwe, director of the Seattle Department of Transportation. “The way we deliver goods is a crucial part of rethinking it. So we’re excited to be working with the University of Washington’s Urban Freight Lab and the private sector to find innovative solutions to meet our aggressive goals for a more sustainable future. ”

Roller coaster cycles:

Using responsive manufacturing, Coaster Cycles has developed an innovative Electric Cargo Trike (ECT) for the BrightDrop EP1.

“Coaster Cycles is an important part of tomorrow’s city,” said Ben Morris, Coaster Cycles founder and CEO. “It’s easy to ignore what’s between the click of the mouse and the package on our doorstep and the real cost of convenience. There is a real effort behind it to make this a better and, above all, a sustainable and responsible experience. ”


REEF provides the hub’s real estate and operates a neighborhood kitchen on site. The kitchen will prepare online food orders for delivery with no front-of-house operations, reducing overhead costs for restaurateurs and providing customers with quick and affordable delivery options.

“REEF is proud to be part of a project that connects neighborhoods and advances our mission to create 15-minute walkable cities,” said Bill Sleeth, Head of Physical Product at REEF. “Developing logistics centers for the last mile will reduce congestion, pollution and traffic, and allow people to focus on the things they enjoy doing rather than the things they need to do.”

Urban Freight Lab:

UFL serves as a catalyst, facilitator and evaluator, bringing together partners from the private and public sectors for this experimental effort.

“Working with our members and the City of Seattle, the Urban Freight Lab is excited to drive the transition to zero-emission last mile delivery,” said Anne Goodchild, founding director of the Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics Center (which houses the Urban Freight Lab) and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington. “We assume that the pilot project will reduce traffic in the Uptown district, provide access to safe and convenient goods and services and enable our partners to test novel, emission-free delivery solutions.”

In short, how does this pilot work?

In an effort to reduce traffic jams and sidewalk obstructions, REEF offers a completely off-road staging location where goods can be transferred from delivery vans to cargo bikes. The goods are loaded into BrightDrop’s EP1 units and the electric pallets are attached to the Coaster Cycles Electric Cargo Trike. With AxleHire’s last mile delivery technology, the driver makes customer deliveries on the fastest and most efficient routes. REEF’s ghost kitchen takes orders for food delivery that might otherwise have been carried out by restaurants further away from the delivery area and fulfills them in the neighborhood. Developed by ParcelPending and hosted by the UFL, the shared parcel box for carriers provides delivery densities for carriers (they visit one location instead of multiple addresses), and neighbors can walk to the location at will to pick up packages and do their own last mile. The combination of activities enables any operator to provide low-cost, clean services at the neighborhood level.

About AxleHire:

AxleHire combines innovative technology and superior logistics to provide industry leaders such as HelloFresh, Deliverr, Freshly, Milkbar and others with affordable and reliable same and next day delivery services. AxleHire is specifically designed to help businesses whose businesses rely on trustworthy and consistent delivery services to get their customers what they need, when they need it. AxleHire has multiple locations in cities across the United States, enabling large mail order companies to address the needs and growing expectations of their customers.

For more information on AxleHire, please visit

About BrightDrop:

BrightDrop is developing a smarter way to deliver goods and services. Its first to last mile ecosystem of electrical products, software and services is designed to help companies deliver goods and services more efficiently while improving overall sustainability. Visit for more information.

About coaster cycles:

Coaster Cycles is the leading manufacturer of Electric Cargo Trike (ECT) for last mile delivery and micro-fulfillment. Founded in 2005 by Ben Morris, Coaster’s roots as an operator make the company a trusted partner to leading transportation companies. Each Coaster ECT is designed and built in Montana, USA. For more information on Coaster Cycles, including the new Venture, Parcel and Freighter, please visit

About REEF:

REEF’s mission is to connect the world to your block. We’re transforming unused urban spaces into neighborhood centers that connect people to locally curated goods, services, and experiences. With an ecosystem of 4,500 locations and a team of 15,000 employees, REEF is the largest operator of mobility, logistics hubs and neighborhood kitchens in the United States. Together we use the power of closeness to advance our communities in a sustainable and thoughtful way. More information is available at

About the Seattle Department of Transportation:

SDOT’s mission is to make Seattle a thriving, just community, powered by reliable transportation that provides safe and affordable access to places and opportunities. One of SDOT’s goals is to address the climate crisis and improve environmental health for future generations through a sustainable, resilient transportation system. You can find more information at

About UFL:

The Urban Freight Lab is a cross-sector structured partnership of academic researchers, public sector agencies and private sector companies – shippers, retailers, technology providers, landowners and manufacturers – who work together to identify complex urban freight management problems and develop solutions offer cities, residents and businesses far-reaching benefits. More:

College of Washington’s City Freight Lab (UFL) Collaborates with Seattle Division of Transportation, REEF, BrightDrop, Coaster Cycles, and AxleHire to Pioneer Shared Sustainable Final-Mile Neighborhood Supply Hub