Poor maps costing delivery companies US$6bn annually


Based on a survey of delivery drivers in the USA and conducted by an independent research firm, the first ‘Mapping in Logistics Report’ has revealed that ‘broken maps’ are costing the logistics sector an estimated US$6bn annually.

The new report was commissioned by Mapillary, a Swedish company that has developed a street-level imagery platform that uses computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI) to create detailed maps. The report is based on a survey that Dimensional Research conducted last month of last-mile delivery drivers, industry data and insights from industry experts, uncovered nearly US$6bn in costs associated with driving extra miles and wasted time alone, in addition to missed delivery windows, parking availability, and parking tickets all due to maps that lack accurate, up-to-date information related to navigation and traffic signs and building information such as entrances and parking slots. Of the delivery drivers surveyed, nearly all (99%) said they would be more effective if they had better maps.

The report estimates the industry is racking up US$2.5bn in wasted salary alone and US$611m in extra miles due to drivers not having better maps. A third of drivers stated they could save upwards of five hours each week if they had access to detailed and up-to-date maps, saving companies US$2.6bn annually.

The report revealed striking inefficiencies including:

  • Extra driving miles – 78% of surveyed drivers report driving more than 5 extra miles a day due to bad routes (closed roads, bad signage, etc.), with 22% reporting between 15 and 25 extra miles, and 11% reporting between 25 and 50 miles;
  • Exact drop-off location – 72% report taking more than 4 minutes to find the exact location (building numbers, delivery entrances, etc.) for a typical delivery, with 36% taking more than 7 minutes, and 14% taking more than 10 minutes;
  • Delivery windows – 96% report wasting significant time during the day waiting for delivery windows, with 76% wasting more than 15 minutes, and 35% wasting more than 30 minutes;
  • Parking availability – 62% report taking more than 4 minutes to find parking, with 32% taking more than 7 minutes, and 10% taking more than 10 minutes;
  • Parking tickets – 57% report getting multiple parking tickets per month, with 33% getting more than 8 tickets;
  • Undelivered packages – 86% report taking packages back as undeliverable, with 38% taking back more than 25 packages per week.

“We know intuitively that broken maps waste time and money for logistics companies, and with the Mapping in Logistics Report we now have data to begin calculating just how massive the problem is,” said Jan Erik Solem, Mapillary’s co-founder and CEO. “The growing demand for ever-shrinking delivery times has created tremendous pressure on maps being more detailed and up-to-date and, as we see in the report, broken maps create inefficiencies across the board. Better maps will result in more deliveries at a faster pace every single day, saving millions of dollars each year for individual companies and dramatically improving their bottom lines.”

Solem added, “Consumer demands around online shopping and delivery times are evolving rapidly, and major players like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart are now providing same-day delivery in numerous locations across the USA. This puts pressure on every logistics company to utilise accurate, up-to-date maps that can ensure faster last-mile delivery and an optimal customer experience.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.