11.–12.06.2025 #polismobility

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Logistics on rails

Karlsruhe light rail as a parcel service

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The unstoppable rise in online trade is not only putting a strain on delivery traffic, but also on the road infrastructure and quality of life. The operating costs of a full tram are almost identical to those of an empty one. So what if the unused spaces could be used for freight transport? Many cities and municipalities are already looking for alternative solutions for local logistics. LogIK Tram is intended to serve as a shining example for other cities with tram or light rail networks and integrate regional rail transport into urban logistics.

Arretierter Fahrradanhänger beim Transport in einer Tram. Daneben sitzen mehrere Fahrgäste.

Arretierter Fahrradanhänger beim Transport in einer Tram. © AVG/ Paul Gärtner

The final event of the LogIKTram research project took place in Karlsruhe at the end of June 2024. A pioneering solution for relieving urban and regional road traffic was presented there: shifting freight transport from road to rail. Special tram cars, also known as "freight trams", offer an innovative and environmentally friendly transport system for the urban and regional supply of private households and businesses.

In addition to informative presentations, the event also included a live demonstration of the prototype implementation of the freight tram system. Albtal-Verkehrs-Gesellschaft mbH (AVG), which acted as consortium leader for the project, provided a light rail vehicle that had been specially converted to meet the requirements of the project. The participants were able to experience the seamless technical integration of freight transport into the rail-based public transport network at first hand: an electrically assisted bicycle trailer travelled independently to the designated area of the tram, from where it was transported to the delivery area. There, the eTrailer would be picked up by a bicycle courier for delivery.

The LogIK Tram project combined two previously separate systems: passenger transport and logistics. As there were previously no standards or interfaces for data exchange, the project's ICT platform was coupled with simulations to evaluate the interaction of vehicles, automated load handling, journeys and logistical and railway operational planning and control processes.

The solution concept includes not only the transport technology for the freight tram, but also a suitable ICT platform and an overall logistics concept along the transport chain from the regional distribution centres via the freight tram to the urban logistics hubs. This holistic approach enables cities to significantly improve the efficiency and sustainability of their freight transport and at the same time reduce the impact of road traffic.


Janina Zogass