Logistics Suitable for Cities and Urban Areas

Logistics Suitable for Cities and Urban Areas

Sustainable and efficient logistics are essential to supply inner cities in a sustainable way. Urban-compatible logistics  avoids bottlenecks in urban infrastructure, is almost noiseless and emits no local pollution.

The possibilities for interlinking and coordinating passenger and freight transport in a smart way are used consistently so that inner cities become more attractive and deliveries are carried out efficiently to the same extent. This includes using electric mobility for the last mile, i.e. quiet delivery vehicles and cargo handling technologies that can be used for urban delivery services even at night and without conflicts with passenger transport. Pioneering technologies of networked communication support dynamic urban deliveries and goods transport, so that these do not obstruct other forms of traffic. New business models of trade, manufacturing companies or the transport industry enable these new concepts to be integrated into business processes. To this end, new approaches are being taken and traditional structures are reassessed and revised.
Fraunhofer Mobility offers research and consultation here in seven relevant topics:

  • Initial markets for electric mobility in urban logistics
  • Traffic and transportation management and planning
  • Navigation and planning journeys
  • Business models and acceptance
  • Monitoring traffic-related and ecological impacts
  • Intelligent and mobile systems for delivering goods
  • Multipurpose usage of buildings and areas for logistics

Cargo bikes – alternative means of transport for deliveries

© Ints / Fotolia.com

In dense, urban centers, cargo bikes can contribute to sustainability and improve the quality of life by relieving traffic congestion and reducing emissions. In addition, they take up less space and require less space for stopping, loading and unloading compared to conventional delivery vehicles so that the quality of inner city areas can be improved. When fully integrated in complex mobility chains, cargo bikes can strengthen the environmental association and contribute to avoiding emissions that have an adverse effect on the climate. Since cargo bikes are simple to use, they offer opportunities to establish new concepts, for example based on hiring or sharing, to expand the potential user group.

Fraunhofer Mobility analyzes economic and technological scenarios of how cargo bikes can be used in urban logistics and mobility.

Project example:

Cargo bikes as a regional mobility offer (project page, Fraunhofer IML) – project to identify the prerequisites, strategies and potentials for promoting and establishing cargo bike rental systems in the metropolitan region of Frankfurt

Intelligent transportation of goods by the »Mobility of Goods 4.0«

© eyetronic / Fotolia.com

The mobility of goods allows self-driving traffic by using innovative and trendsetting technologies. Stakeholders along the transportation chain are given access to new ways of managing and optimizing processes by transferring the innovative technologies and principles of »Industrie 4.0« to external freight transport. This enables stakeholders to work together effectively and increase their efficiency. Components of the »Mobility of Goods 4.0« are fully automated mobility systems (including the use of electric mobility to improve urban commercial transport), augmented reality, synchromodality (automated loading units), highly automated driving in freight transport and smart infrastructure as well as data-based tools and products.
Fraunhofer Mobility develops application-specific solutions for market studies, application potentials, migration strategies and process optimization.

Project examples:

Innovationlab Hybrid Services in Logistics (project page, Fraunhofer IML) – innovation lab to design and analyze new forms of services and human-technology interactions

Smart Container Chain Management (brochure PDF, Fraunhofer IML, GER) – project funded by the European Commission to develop modern management of sea containers that lowers costs and improves safety and efficiency

Future vision »Logistics and Mobility in Hesse in 2035« (project page, Fraunhofer IML) – study together with HOLM to develop a future vision of logistics and mobility in Hesse in 2035

»Transport Logistics 4.0«

© industrieblick / Fotolia.com

»Transport Logistics 4.0« is where transport & logistics overlap with digitalization, automation, the use of technology and innovative concepts. Here, data from loading, unloading and transport are collected, analyzed and promptly transformed into a digital image. Then, these data are combined with additional information from IT or camera systems and sensors in order to derive real-time measures or create automated subsystems. The aim is to create efficient, decentralized, flexible and agile transport handling. Interconnecting and networking all the stakeholders is a key factor for planning transport processes for logistics, industry and trade in the future.

In the »Transport Logistics 4.0« project, Fraunhofer Mobility is providing an overview of the technologies and concepts used and identifying the status of implementation as well as the first waves of implementing transport logistics 4.0.


Project example:

Transport Logistics 4.0 – Digitalization of transport and logistics (project page, Fraunhofer SCS) – project to analyze the importance of transport logistics 4.0 for the logistics industry.

Electrical trucks for emission-free and silent quiet delivery deliveries in city centers

© chesky / Fotolia.com

New challenges are emerging for commercial transport due to increasingly restricted access to city centers. The gradual increase in access and entry restrictions (e.g. via so-called environmental or low emission zones) has already stopped many diesel vehicles from driving into city centers. Electric mobility is a good way of providing vehicles adapted to urban delivery. This kind of transportation does not require the vehicles to have large driving ranges. Therefore, the current technology is already sufficient for urban deliveries. In city centers, routes are short and fuel consumption and engine wear and tear are especially high. Especially in the dense traffic in city centers, electric trucks play to their strengths and show large potentials for avoiding emissions as well as saving fuel costs.

Fraunhofer Mobility analyzes application scenarios and business models for electric trucks that make urban air cleaner and reduce the costs of deliveries as well.

Project examples:

ELMO – Electric urban commercial transport (project page, Fraunhofer IML, GER) – project testing  and improving the use of electric delivery vehicles in inner cities

GeNaLog – Quiet night-time logistics using electric mobility (project page, Fraunhofer IML, GER) – project examining the suitability of electric vehicles for low-emission night-time deliveries and new logistics concepts

EN-WIN – economical and sustainable use of electric commercial vehicles (project page, Fraunhofer IML, GER) – commissioned by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety