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E-Commerce Delivery Is Increasing Congestion and Emissions in Cities

Source: The Future of the Last-Mile Ecosystem, the World Economic Forum

Demand for delivery services is slated to grow by 78% over the next decade, according to a report from the World Economic Forum

As demand for delivery services grows — same-day delivery demand has increased by 36% annually — so does its impact on the environment and congestion in cities. The number of delivery vehicles is on track to increase by 36%, delivery emissions by 32% and traffic congestion by 21% in urban areas over the next decade, the report says. 

Left unaddressed, these issues could mean longer commutes for city dwellers, crowded roads and reduced air quality due to increasing traffic from freight trucks and commercial vehicles.

A solution to these concerns should consider business priorities along with urban-logistical and environmental concerns. A number of options have been proposed, including electric vehicle regulation, nighttime deliveries, load pooling and multi-brand parcel lockers. “Such a scenario could reduce [carbon dioxide] emissions by 30%, congestion by 30% and delivery costs by 25% by 2030 when compared to a ‘do nothing’ baseline,” the report says. 

The Internet Is Least Accessible in These 10 Countries

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit

Key dots: white — overall ranking; green — availability; pink — affordability; purple — relevance; and yellow — readiness

Countries in Africa claim the bottom 10 spots in a ranking on internet availability. This is due to a mix of issues including cost and lack of infrastructure, as is seen in the Inclusive Internet Index, a project between Facebook and The Economist Intelligence Unit, which covers 91% of the world’s population.

For Liberia, where connection is most difficult, access to electricity is one of the root issues. It is also where internet service is the most expensive relative to per capita national income — and, the report says, where “mobile data prices are also among the highest.”

But there has been progress: Broadband connections across Africa passed 400 million in 2018, a twentyfold increase from eight years prior, a report from the World Bank notes. 

The report also highlights initiatives to double internet connectivity across the continent by 2021, compared to 2016, and “to achieve universal affordable and good quality broadband access in Africa by 2030.”

Air Pollution Is Still the World’s Biggest Killer

Source: European Society of Cardiology, March 2020

Air pollution remains the greatest killer of human beings on the planet, according to a new study by the European Society of Cardiology. Air pollution reduces global life expectancy by an average of 2.9 years — almost four times more than parasitic and vector-borne diseases. In fact, ambient air pollution kills more people on the planet than tobacco smoking and violence.

Poor air quality kills more people on average in East Asia (196 deaths/100,000 people per year), Europe (133 deaths/100,000 people per year) and South Asia (119 deaths/100,000 people per year) than anywhere else in the world.

The shortening of life expectancy can be reversed with a cut in greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, removing fossil fuel emissions would result in an increased life expectancy of 1.1 years, according to the study. Nowhere would that improvement be more felt than in East Asia, which could see a three-year increase in life expectancy should action be pursued to reduce air pollution.

Nearly 1 Billion Workers Are in Jobs That Don’t Reflect Their Educational Level

Source: International Labour Organization

As many as 258 million workers in the world are currently overeducated for their jobs, according to new data released by the International Labour Organization.

The bulk of those overeducated workers are in higher-income countries, while undereducated workers are more prevalent in lower-income countries. As illustrated above, overeducated American workers represent 27% of their national workforce, whereas half of the Uruguayan workforce is undereducated.

In total, more than 935 million workers were found to be in jobs that don’t match their educational level, 72% of whom are undereducated. The latest ILO data covers 114 countries of varying regions and income levels, “which means the actual global figures are probably much higher.”

The discrepancy between low- and high-income countries was put down to their disparate economic composition. In low-income countries, “employment is concentrated in low-skilled occupations,” while the opposite is true in high-income countries.

Tech Hubs in the US Are Fueling Regional Divides

Source: Brookings Institution

America’s high-tech innovation sector has exacerbated the nation’s regional divides, fueling growth in select metropolitan areas at the expense of other cities in the country. Boston, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and San Diego have benefited the most from the tech boom, accounting for “more than 90% of the nation’s innovation-sector growth during the years 2005 to 2017.” 

A recent Brookings Institution report warned that the sector’s geographical concentration was a “grave national problem.” From spiraling home prices in tech hub cities to underdevelopment in regions left behind, “regional divergence is … clearly driving ‘backlash’ political dynamics.”

The report urges the U.S. government to immediately counter the trend by “creating eight to 10 new regional ‘growth centers,’” tying in tax and regulatory benefits to encourage the tech-innovation industry to expand beyond its concentrated hubs. The think tank estimated federal government investment for such an initiative to be $100 billion over 10 years — “substantially less than the 10-year cost of U.S. fossil fuel subsidies.”

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