© Alain Lacroix | Dreamstime.com - Bright lights big city

In 2010, the United States Postal Service was responsible for the delivery of 3.1bn packages across the country. In the seven years since, fuelled by the explosion of online shopping, USPS has overtaken both UPS and FedEx as the country’s largest parcel delivery service – last year it delivered 5.1 billion. While the rise in online consumption has allowed new markets to grow, it has also wrought chaos on the nation’s cities. It is estimated that each American is responsible for 60 tons of freight in the country’s transport network. That equates to 7% of urban traffic and, more startlingly, 17% of urban congestion. In this piece from CityLab, US academics and logistics professionals debate whether the current model can continue, and what can be done to reduce the build-up of traffic choking US cities.

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