We’ve seen numerous efforts to reduce the energy used and urban congestion created by the small-package delivery industry, including both neighbourhood pickup spots and a ride-sharing program for packages. Combining a little bit of both ideas, bring.BUDDY is a program that will soon be tested out by DHL to recruit city dwellers to deliver packages along urban routes they’d be taking anyway.
Created last year for DHL by a team of students at the HPI School of Design Thinking at Germany’s University of Potsdam, bring.BUDDY taps all the consumers moving through a city each day, whether via bike, public transport or on foot. Interested participants indicate their travel route for the day using a downloadable Smartphone app; a text message then lets them know of any packages needing delivery along the way.
When there is such a package, the participant picks it up from the local kiosk where it’s waiting and delivers it as they go about their daily business. In exchange for their help, the program rewards them with points that can be redeemed for free train tickets, merchandise coupons or CO2 credits. A .pdf brochure and a video on YouTube both explain bring.BUDDY in more detail.
As part of an effort to reduce its own carbon emissions, DHL will reportedly begin a pilot test based on bring.BUDDY and its network of DHL Packstation kiosks later this year. As with any service like this, of course, trust issues will have to be overcome. Nevertheless, the project’s potential to make dedicated delivery vehicles superfluous, at least in urban areas, is nothing if not compelling, with benefits including less congestion, lower delivery costs and reduced emissions. One to watch, try out or get involved in…?