UPS and PSU partner to launch new eBike delivery service
Author: Katy Swordfisk
Posted: November 6, 2019

Starting next week, UPS packages will be delivered on Portland State’s campus via eBike. 

The bikes — fueled by electricity and manpower — are part of a pilot project designed to reduce carbon emissions, traffic congestion, noise and air quality impacts.

“As an urban university, PSU is always looking for ways to support the city that we call home, and one way we can serve Portland is by doing our part to reduce carbon emissions from the urban core,” said PSU’s Interim President Stephen Percy. “The UPS eBike delivery program promises to do just that, and we are thrilled to serve as a testbed for it and to connect to a business that is working so diligently to promote sustainable changes.” 

 UPS launched a similar effort for the first time last year at Seattle’s Pike Place Market to great success.
Now, UPS is partnering with PSU and the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) to further test the shift in delivery practices.

“The goal of the initiative is to reduce vehicle miles traveled,” said UPS Industrial Engineering Department Manager Travis Vaughter. “UPS, PBOT and PSU will evaluate the eBike’s reliability, design and integration into Portland’s infrastructure over the next 6 months.”   

The eBike and accompanying modular trailer will operate on campus generally between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., depending on the delivery volume each day. The bike itself is the result of a collaboration between Portland companies Silver Eagle Manufacturing and Truck Trike. The  “plug and play” design allows delivery cyclists to better navigate sidewalks and pedestrian corridors. 

“The competition for space to facilitate freight loading and unloading on campus continues to increase, as our campus continues to become denser and more active,” said PSU Transportation & Parking Services Director Ian Stude. “The use of light footprint vehicles like the UPS eBike are an excellent match for the human-scaled design of the PSU campus.”

Stude added that the partnership tackles an often difficult intersection between commerce and sustainability in the realm of transportation.

“Across the nation, pedestrian and bicyclist-involved crashes frequently involve freight and service vehicles, often with fatal results,” he said. “UPS has been a leader in analyzing and improving safety for vulnerable roadway users as part of their delivery practices. This project highlights its continued pursuit of providing safe and efficient services in dense urban environments.”

PBOT Director Chris Warner said the bikes will also help the city address climate change. 

“We want to use this as a model to test this around the city,” he added. “I can't wait to see what other innovative solutions we can work on together as we move forward.”