In December the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (my previous employer) released a study on the impact of food delivery apps like DoorDash. Using publicly available data they showed how rapid growth of food deliveries is destroying our environment and clogging our streets with traffic.
Why It Matters
Food delivery apps were a lifeline for restaurants during the pandemic. They are convenient and a tempting option when you are busy, looking for a new treat, or do not want to eat inside. As prices rise you may want to ask yourself whether it’s worth ordering take-out not just for your wallet, but for the impact on the environment.
By the Numbers
- A London case study found the average time occupying the curb or parking area for picking up food at a restaurant is 10 minutes.
- Chik-Fil-A in Back Bay can have up to 20 drivers picking up orders at once.
- Massachusetts had over 100 million food delivery trips in 2021.
Food delivery apps are likely here to stay. The MAPC study points out is important municipalities get data on food delivery to shape policy and planning for managing them. However we are likely to see solutions like:
- More short-term pick-up spots.
- Automated traffic enforcement.
- Incentives to use non-automobile transport for short trips.
- Central pick-up zones for food delivery in neighborhoods.