Advocates of online shopping love to argue that it is a more sustainable option as it keeps a lot of cars off the roads. But what they conveniently forget is that it also adds a huge number of trucks that not just add up to the air pollution levels but also cause traffic congestion.
As writer Edward Humes says: “We create a truck trip each time we click that enticingly convenient “Buy” icon. And we click that button a lot. The old way of shopping lists and a single car trip to the mall or the market to make multiple purchases is fading away. Now we are lured by unlimited free shipping — and next-day and same-day delivery — to impulse-buy one item at a time, spread out over many days and many separate truck deliveries.”
This has caused a huge spike in deliveries in cities that were not designed for this. Professor José Holguín-Veras tells Humes that “If we all keep on buying as we are year after year, without regard to the impact, we are doomed.”
Humes also notes that the drivers of these trucks making deliveries often park illegally, which is a huge factor in traffic congestion. In fact, trucks, which represent 7% of total traffic, account for 28% of the nation’s congestion.