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Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Subway Urban Freight Delivery System (ST11037-1)

Jeffrey L Kinzler


In core business districts in New York City, there has been a steady increase in the amount of truck traffic and a lack of freight handling facilities for commercial delivery vehicles, resulting in increasing traffic congestion as the streets become blocked with double parked trucks and sidewalks are obstructed with loading and unloading of freight. This congestion slows down the movement of goods and services and increases the cost of doing business, creating a drag on the local economy and a strong incentive for businesses to locate elsewhere. A possible solution is based on a concept developed by the Contactor, Lawbuilder Consultants. This concept employs an innovative, intermodal freight handling system based on using the City’s existing electric-powered rail transportation infrastructure to move freight shipments in and out of the city quickly and efficiently, while simultaneously allowing trucks to drop off and pick up their loads without entering the central business district. Final distribution would be by small scale, electrically operated, ergonomic and pedestrian friendly modes which are fully integrated into the intermodal system.

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Project Description

The project objective was to perform the analyses necessary to determine the feasibility of an innovative, intermodal freight handling system for New York City, utilizing the subway system. The system to be studied will be based on using existing electric-powered rail transportation infrastructure, enhanced with an intermodal freight handling system and electric battery-powered sub-distribution modes to quickly and efficiency move freight shipments in and out of the city, while simultaneously allowing trucks to drop off and pick up their loads without entering the central business district. Study tasks include: preliminary analysis of transfer facility and unloading/distribution facilities, preliminary analysis of freight container, preliminary specification for freight rail car and turn-around track, review of concepts for modifications to commuter rail stations, specification for electric vehicle to make final deliveries at street level, specification for street-level facilities, preliminary economic and environmental assessments, and review of safety issues.


Such a system, if implemented would replace a significant volume of local truck traffic with a non-polluting electrically operated transportation system, lower shipping cost, drastically decrease traffic congestion, reduce dependence on petroleum, make more efficient use of existing electric powered transportation infrastructure, and will assist New York State in complying with federal clean air laws, and reduction in other forms of transportation-related pollution, including greenhouse gases.

Project Results

This initial study was completed very successfully. The quality and quantity of their feasibility study exceeded initial expectations. The Final Report was comprehensively prepared and responsive to each element of feasibility requiring analysis. Feasibility of the concept was shown to be quite promising, and deserving of consideration for possible in-depth design, analysis, and pilot testing.


Jeffrey L Kinzler
Lawbuilder Consulting 393 Old Country Rd Ste 204
Carle Place, NY 11514

Principle Investigator

Jeffrey Kinzler

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Research Study

Technologies Types:


NYSERDA Contact Information

Frank Ralbovsky


R&D -Transport & Power Systems

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST11037-1

Last Updated: 5/9/2014 2