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Potential for Cargo Bike Transportation in City Logistics

The potential of cargo bikes for last-mile delivery is interactively optimized and visualized using algorithms. A tool that is going to be developed throughout this project should allow for the planning of micro depots and cycle paths for alternative scenarios. Case studies serve as an example illustration.

Project goal

The aim of the project is the potential analysis of the use of cargo bikes as a last-mile means of transportation depending on the needs of the users and the network structure. The network is described by means of sources and destinations of transportation requirements to, from and within the city. For this purpose an appropriate infrastructure of fixed or mobile micro depots as well as an interconnected network of roads and special bike paths (cycle superhighways) must be planned accordingly. Therefore, we assume a two-stage transportation model: Goods that arrive from outside of the city are delivered to fixed or mobile depots by means of freight trams or trucks and from there onwards by means of cargo bikes to the customer. Goods transportation within the city is organized directly by means of cargo bikes. Consolidation at depots is only happening for longer distance transportation in order to be subsequently transferred by freight tram or small transporters to another depot. In order to analyze both costs and environmental aspects, the locations and sizes of the micro depots are determined based on a mathematical optimization model and compared in different scenarios. Depots could serve either as a warehouse or just as a hub. The number of depots has an impact on the number of cargo bikes that are required and the utilization of the system. Additionally, the number of depots has an impact on the flexibility of the system, what is crucial for short delivery times expected by the customers and hence for the success. The results can be presented clearly with the decision support tool and the visualizations. The tool will be demonstrated on case studies in order to explore the potential of cargo bikes. By using the example of the cities Munich and Regensburg the transferability of the tool should be demonstrated. In addition to case studies for the classical parcel delivery, differences should also be analyzed in the food sector. 

The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure within the National Cycling Plan 2020 (NRVP).

Project advisory board

  • Bundesverband Paket und Expresslogistik (BIEK)
  • Fördervereinigung Güterverkehrslogistik Regensburg (FGR) e. V.
  • IHK Regensburg
  • Landeshauptstadt München
  • Liefery
  • tiramizoo GmbH

Project duration

September 2018 - August 2020