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21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Primer for Improved Urban Freight Mobility and Delivery
Operations, Logistics, and Technology Strategies

Reservation Systems for Pick-up and Delivery Locations
Trusted Access Program and Vehicle Security and Scheduling System at New York City's World Trade Center (WTC)

Primary Objective

Key Accomplishments

  • Developed an efficient system for managing vehicle and driver information, allowing law enforcement and stakeholders to know who is traveling onto the WTC complex and for what purposes.
  • Implemented a screening process that can accommodate daily demand without delays or queuing of trucks.
  • Turned critics into supporters by offering a superior level of service with more reliability than "traditional" urban delivery.

Few locations in American cities are as secure and guarded as New York City's World Trade Center (WTC). The reconstruction of the WTC complex after the attack of September 11, 2001, emphasized safety and security of the site and its workers and visitors. As such, the capacity to control access to the complex and to screen vehicles for potential threats had to be built into the reconstruction.

The WTC features a Transportation Hub that connects the Port Authority Trans Hudson trains to and from New York and New Jersey with several New York City Transit Subway lines, commercial office towers One, 2, 3, 4, and ultimately 5 WTC, the One World Observatory, the National September 11th Memorial and Museum, and Liberty Park, as well as hundreds of thousands of square feet of retail space and pedestrian plazas. The WTC is a restricted access campus that is owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. It is protected by multiple security agencies, including the New York City Police Department, two Port Authority Police divisions, and multiple private security companies. There is a constant police presence and command station on-site.

Access for delivery vehicles is facilitated using a Trusted Access Program (TAP) that features a Vehicle Security and Scheduling System (VS3). The TAP and VS3 systems provide security and control access to the complex. They also used the system to assist in managing utilization of loading dock space. Use of the system in this manner reduced inefficiencies that many businesses experience when truck drivers have to search for an open loading dock or a curbside place to make deliveries. Managing deliveries through a reservation system, with or without the security element, is applicable in other urban environments in the U.S.

Implementation Approach

In developing the WTC complex, the Port Authority, New York City, and other on-site stakeholders collaborated on the development of commercial design guidelines for the WTC. The guidelines included specifications for streets, sidewalks, signage, street furniture, and other aspects of the site design. Additionally, the Port Authority and New York City collaborated in the development and implementation of a WTC Campus Security Plan to delegate roles and responsibilities governing access and security. The Port Authority also visited and interviewed managers of other large urban campuses in New York City, including the Jacob Javits Convention Center and Rockefeller Center, to learn about best practices while developing and implementing the TAP and VS3 systems.

The VS3 system is a database of driver and vehicle information, associating site tenants with the companies that deliver to them. The VS3 system also manages delivery schedules and loading dock utilization. Each building has its own loading docks and a manager who establishes rules for delivering to their docks, such as length of delivery window and length of registration validity, among others. Using the VS3 system, building tenants schedule deliveries and loading dock managers approve the delivery requests.

The VS3 system is used to pre-register all vehicles and drivers that require access to the WTC complex, including delivery vehicles, black cars, and employees' personal vehicles. When drivers enroll in the VS3 system, they provide information about the company, driver, vehicle plate, and vehicle identification number (VIN). Rather than generate a unique driver ID card, the system manages driver records using driver's license numbers. This requires less data and equipment management on the part of the system managers and drivers.

When entering the WTC, every vehicle undergoes a certain level of screening depending on where it is making a delivery onsite. Delivery vehicles headed below-ground receive a full x-ray, personal vehicles are screened by canine service dogs, and street-level delivery vehicles are physically inspected and weighed. The security process for delivery vehicles takes approximately 15-20 minutes from start to end. On average, over 1,000 trucks per week are processed with no delays or backups at the screening checkpoints.

The system is expected to efficiently process upwards of 800 trucks, 500 private automobiles, and hundreds of livery vehicles per day once the complex is fully built out.

Each property owner and manager at the WTC, including the Port Authority, Silverstein Properties, The Durst Organization, Westfield Corp, and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, shares in the cost of operating the Vehicle Security Center that processes all the vehicles going to below-ground loading docks and parking areas. The payments help recoup the cost of VS3 System and gantry scanners, but the cost of staffing both guards and canine service dogs is a large and ongoing expense.

The Port Authority meets monthly with Trusted Access Program stakeholders to review performance statistics and discuss feedback on any issues or concerns. The partnership is highly collaborative, and all parties agree that while security is critically important, businesses need to be able to thrive as well. Prior to implementing the VS3 system, some businesses were concerned that the system would be too onerous and could negatively impact business. However, businesses continue to flourish at the WTC, and the VS3 and TAP systems work effectively, and often even more reliably than typical urban deliveries outside the WTC Complex.

Local Contacts

Jolene Yeats, AICP, World Trade Center Transportation and Planning Manager, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey,

George Anderson, Director of Security at World Trade Center, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey,

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