regioKArgoTramTrain: Further Development and Operational Implementation of Sustainable Combined Passenger and Freight Transport on Public Rail

  • contact:

    PD Dr.-Ing. Martin Kagerbauer

    Emre Görgülü, M.Sc.

    Lukas Barthelmes, M.Sc.

  • funding:

    Europäischer Fonds für regionale Entwicklung (EFRE), Land Baden-Württemberg

  • partner:

    Albtal-Verkehrs-Gesellschaft mbH (Koordinator)

    Automotive Engineering Network – Das Mobilitätscluster e.V.

    FZI Forschungszentrum Informatik

    Hochschule Furtwangen – Institut für Intelligente Interaktive Ubiquitäre Systeme

    Hochschule Karlsruhe – Institut für Lernen und Innovation in Netzwerken

    INIT Innovative Informatikanwendungen in Transport-, Verkehrs- und Leitsystemen GmbH


    KIT – Institut für Fahrzeugsystemtechnik

    KIT – Institut für Verkehrswesen

    MARLO Consultants GmbH

    Rheinland-Pfälzische Technische Universität Kaiserslautern-Landau


    SimPlan AG

    TransportTechnologie-Consult Karlsruhe GmbH

    TechnologieRegion Karlsruhe GmbH

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Problem Statement

The positive economic development of recent decades has led to increased freight transport in Germany. This rise can be attributed, in part, to the growing demand for small-scale deliveries and the increased time and organizational delivery requirements of industry, commerce, and private individuals. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the population's shopping behavior towards online shopping, thereby further increasing the demand for goods and the number of delivery routes. Developments in e-commerce and economic trends indicate that road freight trips will continue to increase. Existing solutions, such as converting delivery fleets to electric vehicles, reduce local emissions, but they do not address the increasing burdens on road infrastructure or spatial conflicts, especially in urban areas. Therefore, alternative transport methods are necessary to utilize existing transport modes' capacities more efficiently and reduce traffic volumes in road freight transport.


An alternative transport method could be the use of existing tram infrastructure, which is being explored in the regioKArgoTramTrain project. The project aims to evaluate and further develop combined passenger and freight transport within tram networks with efficient handling and transport procedures in urban and regional transport, using the example of the Karlsruhe metropolitan area. It builds on the research project LogIKTram, which has already laid some conceptual foundations. While LogIKTram tests a prototype CargoTram with an automated handling facility at the operating site of the Albtal-Verkehrs-Gesellschaft (AVG) initially, regioKArgoTramTrain expands this demonstration to the public rail network. The rail vehicle is intended to be dedicated solely to passenger transport during peak hours and to combined passenger and freight transport during off-peak hours. Freight will be automatedly loaded and unloaded at selected stops, transshipped in micro-hubs, and delivered on the very last mile using cargo bikes. Delivery by delivery robots is also considered in the project. Through practical experience, particularly the understanding of the interactions between passenger and freight transport will be deepened to expand existing solutions and ultimately determine the potentials of combined transport.


The project relies on various technical, legal, economic, and ecological components, some of which build upon the earlier work of the predecessor project LogIKTram. In regioKArgoTramTrain, these works are further deepened, validated, and adjusted through the transition to real-world operations. This involves the development of real-time tracking software to monitor the entire delivery process and the further development and legal examination of the technical specifications of the CargoTram, cargo bike trailers, and delivery robots. Additionally, it encompasses the revision and expansion of the logistics concept, along with the economic and ecological analysis of combined passenger and freight transport with tram. The Institute for Transport Studies (IfV) examines the transportation impacts of the concept for the Karlsruhe region, forming the basis for the economic and ecological analysis of combined passenger and freight transport. To achieve this, the microsimulation passenger demand model mobitopp, developed at the IfV, is utilized. This model was applied to the Karlsruhe region in the project regiomove and expanded in LogIKTram and Profilregion Karlsruhe to include the freight transport model logiTopp. The existing model foundations are deepened in the regioKArgoTramTrain project and are particularly further developed and linked in terms of freight transport interactions between private individuals and businesses. An establishment and household survey create an empirical database to model the regional parcel demand structure in more detail. Based on this, new microscopic models are developed to represent incoming and outgoing parcel volumes on the first and last mile for private individuals and businesses. Additionally, the tour planning algorithms for delivery and pickup tours are further developed to examine the intermodal transport mode choice behavior of the transport service providers. Concurrently, based on insights from real-world operations, the implementation of the CargoTram on the last mile and other delivery alternatives on the very last mile, such as delivery robots, cargo bikes, etc., is carried out. Acceptance-related determinants that may potentially influence operations and transport capacities are also considered. After implementing the sub-models in logiTopp and defining multiple scenarios for combined transport, simulation-based assessments are carried out and discussed. This facilitates the evaluation and assessment of combined passenger and freight transport in public transit.