News • 31.03.2021

When the tram delivers parcels

Logistics concept for the last mile transportation of goods by city railway vehicles

A green tram of the Albtal-Verkehrs-Gesellschaft in the countryside...
Source: © Paul Gärtner, KVV

The new collaboration project LogIKTram is aimed at increasingly shifting goods transportation from road to rail even for short to medium distances. The electric mobility solutions to be developed for commercial services in cities and regions will be based on the use of existing tram and railway infrastructures.

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Albtal-Verkehrs-Gesellschaft (AVG, a local transport company), FZI Research Center for Information Technology, an innovation partner of KIT, and other partners will devise a technical and logistical concept for a "goods tram" in Karlsruhe and will study the impacts on both road and rail traffic. LogIKTram is part of the regioKArgo initiative, in which new types of goods delivery services based on various transport means will be studied and implemented.

In future, it will be necessary to increasingly shift the transportation of goods to rail in order to improve the climate balance in the transport sector and to relieve the cities. In cities and urban agglomerations, rail-based goods transportation hardly plays any role. Goods are transported mainly on roads. Here, new traffic concepts are required. The project aims at developing a logistics concept and an IT and communications platform for the future transportation of goods by tram and city railway vehicles. "We will use the existing tram and city railway infrastructure," says Dr. Michael Frey, Deputy Head of the Institute of Vehicle System Technology (FAST), Division of Vehicle Technology, KIT.

The project started on March 01, 2021 and is scheduled for a duration of three years. LogIKTram is funded with a total of about EUR 2.75 million by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). The project is part of the regioKArgo initiative. Its goal is to study new types of goods transportation and delivery traffic and implement them in Karlsruhe and the surroundings. In this way, traffic will be increasingly shifted from road to rail and the last delivery mile will be emission-free.

Researchers of FAST will develop the technical concept for a "goods tram" in Karlsruhe, where urban tram lines have been interconnected with railway lines in the district for about 30 years now. For the goods tram to transport both passengers and goods, FAST will develop solutions to create space for the goods by a variable design of the interior. The transportation containers will be loaded and unloaded automatically and secured by hooks and bars. Precise positioning of the trams at the stations will be important to move the transport containers with centimeter precision and to observe the normal passenger boarding and alighting times.

Source: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

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