cargo trailer concept
Last Mile delivery concept
apr. - dec.
TU Delft &
This is my graduation project of my MSc 'Integrated Product Design' at the TU Delft. It was titled 'a new bicycle delivery system for the last mile of e-commerce'. I had acquired the Dutch postal service PostNL as client for the project and was guided by the people at Vanderveer designers.
As a graduating student I was responsible for everything in the project. The goal was to deliver a concept for a 'delivery system' that PostNL could implement into their business in the near future. Though the project obviously mainly served an academic purpose.
design a viable business case
PostNL had been struggling for some time to establish a viable business case for their cargo bikes. They felt responsible to try, but it didn't make business sense yet.
They challenged me to come up with a cargo bike solution with the promise of becoming profitable.
So, it was key to find out which elements made this business case; which stakeholders are involved and how can we make sure that this solution could fit the system in the near future?
Scroll down to check out the process, ending with the Cargo Trailer concept.
Their cargo bike at that time.. (2012)
a day in the life off..
..a parcel delivery man. I joined this PostNL employee on a full days work, in the city centre of Amsterdam. This gave me a solid idea of the workload for one delivery man in the 'current situation'. Also it painted a picture of the context, the conditions in which these employees have to deliver.
The delivery process is a cycle of steps that need to be taken for each delivery. There are opportunities for improvement in each of these steps.
There is still a large human factor here: the deliverymen have their own process for planning their route, the route planning process.
Goliath vs. David
volume capacity max. 2 m3
human power (e-assist)
volume capacity 12 m3
The challenge at hand was simple:
How can we directly replace one van with one cargo bike?
How can you replace such a huge beast, with something 6 times as small? Two things needed solving:
how many parcels can you bring along?
how far can you drive ? how far do you have to?
This is a selection of sketches that I made for the many sub-problems that needed solving.
scroll sideways to browse through them.
A modular bicycle trailer system, designed to get the most out of hauling cargo with your bicycle.
Cargo Trailer concept
All design effort done in the concept phase eventually lead to the concept of the Cargo Trailer:
What makes it special?
Due to the hitch connection, the trailer can transport a large volume without compromising the manoeuvrability too much.
The trailer mostly carries the weight for you.
the turning circle of the vehicle is very small (U-turn within 3 m).
Accessory to a bicycle
It has a very similar experience to riding your bike like you a re used to.
Seperable from bike
This creates opportunities for smart logistic systems, like Distribution Centers with multiple Cargo Trailers.
The trailer is powered by two electric hub motors, allowing the cyclist to ride comfortably with the cargo load behind him.
Scenario of use
In the morning the deliverymen will distribute their parcels over several Cargo Trailers, according to their own route planning process.
2. delivery cycle
..to the next stop. The convenience in manoeuvrability allows you to almost reach the doorstep of the each stop.
Park the bike, get off, lock it, walk to the doors them, grab the parcels, close the doors and lock them.
..to the door.
ring the bell
..and hope that the addressee answers.
..there are several options, depending on the company policies. Every unsuccessful delivery means less pay usually..
..you completed one 'stop', earning you a certain amount of money. Continue to the next lap.
Switch out an empty trailer for a new one at designated locations in the city.
Laptime: how long do you need for one lap?
Frequency of use: how often do you perform certain handlings?
Scope: which parts of the lap are influenced by the Cargo Trailer?
The cyclist can always see the 'inner wheel' because of the 'trailing' aspect. Also, he can easily look over the trailer to see if there's traffic behind him.