Anil Merchant, Chief Product Officer
Automotus survey results provide a look at how delivery drivers use the curb
E-commerce and online delivery have become an integral part of everyday life for most consumers. As more and more delivery vehicles fill our streets and support our day-to-day needs, cities must come up with creative solutions to make space for them. New tech and policy changes are happening quickly, but there’s one stakeholder that often gets overlooked in the conversation—the very people who use curb space the most and best understand what changes might be most effective: delivery drivers.
In an effort to better understand the needs of delivery vehicle operators, we created a 15-question survey. With the support of organizations such as the Association for Delivery Drivers and With Para, we surveyed a broad range of drivers, from independent delivery drivers to drivers for app-based delivery companies including DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats, Amazon Flex, and Postmates. We collected 120 responses in total, with survey respondents coming from cities across all major U.S. regions, and here's what we discovered.
Drivers are rarely able to find parking upon first arriving at the curb due to a limited supply of parking spots. As a result, drivers are forced to either waste several minutes circling for parking, or alternatively, walk from a distant spot, park in a spot that is not intended for them, or double-park.
Further, many drivers spend between 4 to 7 minutes circling in search of a parking spot. When we consider that most drivers only park their vehicles for 3 to 5 minutes per delivery, the parking process appears to take up almost as much, if not more, time than the actual pickup or delivery.
This is a major problem. Most of the drivers we surveyed are gig workers, meaning that their wages depend on how many deliveries they make and how well they are tipped for those deliveries. When a driver is forced to spend more time looking for parking than they spend parked, it cuts into their hourly wage, and decreases the likelihood of a speedy (and well-tipped) delivery. Because there is only so much physical space at the curb, technology and/or policy that promotes faster parking turnover would be a huge asset to drivers.
In this same vein, we discovered that most drivers spend an average of 1 to 2 additional minutes paying for parking when they are feeding a meter. In many cases this is up to 50% of the time they are spending at the curb, taking up parking spots that others could utilize. It is clear that both drivers and cities would benefit from a fully automated payment solution that does not require drivers to waste any additional time paying with apps or meters.
Having a means to charge drivers for the exact amount of time they need to stop would also be more cost effective, such that no driver ends up paying for 1-hour parking when they only spend 3 to 5 minutes in a spot. The vast majority of drivers surveyed expressed that their experience would be improved by the introduction of this kind of technology, helping shape our development of the very first fully automated payment solution for drivers rolling out in Pittsburgh this month and cities across the U.S. thereafter, including Omaha and Los Angeles.
We would like to send a huge thank you to all of the drivers who took the time to participate in this survey. As we continue to build curb management solutions for cities, it is very important to us that we’re responding directly to the needs of delivery drivers, and that they benefit everyone who has a stake at the curb.
If you are interested in reviewing the full results, check them out here.
If you’re a driver and want to get in touch, please feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.