Supply and waste disposal of urban areas

The sustainable supply of inner cities depends on sustainable and efficient logistics. City-compatible logistics avoids bottlenecks in the urban infrastructure, and is handled almost silently and without local pollutant emissions. The possibilities of intelligent dovetailing and coordination between freight and passenger transport are consistently exploited so that city centers become more attractive and delivery transport is still carried out efficiently. This includes the use of electromobility on the last mile, i. e., quiet delivery vehicles and quiet handling technologies for urban delivery transport that can also be used at night and without any conflict with passenger traffic. Supported by forward-looking networked communication technologies, urban delivery and freight traffic is dynamically guided through urban space without impeding traffic. New business models of retailers, manufacturing companies, as well as the transport industry enable the integration of these new concepts into business processes. For this purpose, new paths are being taken and traditional structures are being reconsidered and amended. The Fraunhofer Commercial Transport WG offers research and consulting services in seven relevant areas:

  • Initial markets for electromobility in city logistics
  • Traffic management and planning
  • Navigation and vehicle routing
  • Business models and acceptance
  • Monitoring of impacts on traffic and environment
  • intelligent and mobile goods transfer systems
  • Multipurpose use of buildings and areas for logistics

Streetcar-type buses

© Fraunhofer IVI

In the fast-growing mega-cities of this world, city planners and operators of local public transport are often confronted with the challenge that high passenger transport capacities are required for a given district, but the time and financial effort required for the construction of a suburban rail or streetcar line is estimated to be too great. For these cases, vehicles were designed and developed at Fraunhofer IVI ten years ago that combine the advantages of city buses (hardly any infrastructure effort, high flexibility, low costs) and those of streetcars (high transport capacity, low personnel requirement per passenger). The result is rubber-tired buses with 5, 6 or 8 axles that are equipped with a steering system allowing the vehicles to operate on a virtual track with minimal trailing curves and high maneuverability.

In addition to the steering system, other components of this vehicle category need to be rethought. These vehicles are often designed and operated battery-electrically or, in current projects, fuel cell-electrically. High demands are also made of the vehicles‘ configurations. For example, there is an increasing demand for these vehicles to be completely low-floor, which in turn requires new types of axles and motor concepts. To date, no low-floor, driven and steerable axles exist on the market, nor are they being developed specifically for this vehicle category. This also opens up new opportunities for developing this market with innovative solutions such as wheel hub motors.

Sustainable and efficient city logistics

© Fraunhofer IAO
Traffic obstruction due to second-row parking
© Fraunhofer IAO
Traffic obstruction due to unloading in the road
© Fraunhofer IAO
Peak delivery time in Stuttgart's Königstrasse due to delivery time restrictions

City logistics is a fundamental component of the supply infrastructure of cities. In addition to commercial customers such as manufacturing companies and retailers, private households are making increasing use of logistics services. In the course of the continuously growing Internet trade, the transport volumes and frequencies of small consignments have been increasing for years. As parcel volumes increase, so does the number of delivery vehicles and the amount of emissions they cause.

In order to reduce the negative environmental impact of commercial transport in the future and improve the delivery situation in urban areas, various measures are being tested and scientifically monitored in pilot projects. For example, digital delivery zones are being piloted to better manage delivery traffic and avoid the second-row parking of vehicles. A positive side effect of digitized parking space is data on the use of these loading zones. This information, which can help to develop demand-oriented and sustainable city logistics concepts, is often missing. For this reason, we are involved in various projects to improve the data and planning basis of logistics systems. This information can then be incorporated into the optimization of route algorithms or into logistics demand models.

Example Projects:

SmartZone(Fraunhofer IAO [German]): As part of the project, Fraunhofer IAO is researching the possibilities of digitally bookable delivery zones in the Stuttgart urban area.

MobiDig (Fraunhofer IAO): The MobiDig project aims to create a data-based planning tool for logistics measures in three sample cities. The result is a guideline for municipalities with explanations on data collection and data use in the planning of sustainable logistics concepts.

SmartRadL (Fraunhofer IAO): In the SmartRadL project, Fraunhofer IAO is working together with industry partners to develop a tour and route algorithm tailored to cargo bike delivery.