Here’s one way for Amazon to reduce package delivery times: decrease the number of places drivers have to go.
Traffic problems in Seattle and other cities not only slow our commute to work, but they complicate Amazon’s goal of delivering packages as quickly as possible. The online retail giant has come up with a number of creative ways to speed up the delivery process, and now it is talking with regional transit agency Sound Transit about putting package dropboxes at rail stations.
Peter Rogoff, CEO of Sound Transit, said Thursday at the King County Economic Development Council’s annual Economic Forecast Conference that his organization has been approached by Amazon to install package delivery locations, possibly something akin to Amazon Lockers, at its Sounder rail platforms. Sounder is a commuter service that travels between the north and south edges of the Seattle region, as far north as Everett and as far south as Lakewood.
Rogoff said Amazon is talking with Sound Transit about Sounder stations, rather than the brand new light rail stations in urban Seattle neighborhoods because of the unpredictable traffic in those outlying areas.
“Some of the most challenging places to reliably deliver packages because of the incredibly variable traffic is eastern Pierce County, which is why they are interested in perhaps putting Amazon dropboxes on some of our platforms,” Rogoff said.
Rogoff said such a setup, with a company putting delivery infrastructure on a publicly-funded transit station, could prove difficult, and there is no concrete plan yet.
Rogoff’s panel, which focused on revolutionizing transportation and also included hefty discussions on self-driving vehicles, was heavy on package delivery talk. Some buildings don’t feature secure delivery points, and panelists agreed that could drive potential tenants away and lower the value of those apartments.
That prompted the discussion of delivering packages to places on people’s everyday commutes. Rogoff said that Amazon is the only service that has approached Sound Transit about potential delivery at train stations.
“We are not there yet, but it’s not an irrational idea, it’s something we can work through,” Rogoff said. “But right now we’ve only been approached by one vendor.”