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Spring has sprung, all over the roads

Spring has sprung and the competition for your pound is fierce as you place orders, online, for that must have pair of budgie smugglers.

The usual “price led” offers dominate but I have noticed a strange development the same day / next day delivery which meets customers needs but is just madness. Retailers are so keen to get your business that they are offering shorter and shorter delivery times for products ordered online.

We have seen a massive shift towards online ordering over the last few years with retailers carrying less stock as a result of the economic downturn and the advent of “click and collect”. Customers are ordering more online and stores are relying on speedy deliveries to keep the customer by offering to “order it now for you and it’ll be here tomorrow”.

Just think that through for a minute. Years ago a big lorry would, every few days, deliver stock to a store. It was one truck going to one destination. Now, we have big trucks taking individual orders to a distribution point, be it a store or a mail depot for onward delivery to a town centre or your home.

Delivery

Aren’t our roads busy enough already? Congestion is one of the major challenges facing cities and towns yet we are blindly ordering more and more product, much of it unnecessarily being delivered in almost unbelievably short timescales.

According to a report by the Centre for Economic and Business Research, congestion cost each household in the UK £1,426 per year (2013). By 2030 it is forecast, that this costs will have risen to £2057. The annual cost of UK congestion is forecast to rise from £13bn in 2013 to a monster £21bn by 2030.

Are we blindly stumbling towards gridlock caused by our wants and not our needs? The traditional answer to congestion is that we build more roads that fill up with even more vehicles. Perhaps we need a long hard look at what is on our roads and to consider if our need for new pants, by lunchtime tomorrow, means that our roads become an even more costly and unpleasant place to be?