LogIKTram - Logistics Concept and ICT Platform for Urban Rail-based Freight Transport

Problem Statement

The good economic development of the past decades has led to a steady increase in the demand for freight transport in Germany. The change in the structure of goods towards smaller deliveries as well as the high demand on the flexibility of the logistics system by industry (e.g. just-in-time delivery) have led to an increase in road freight transport. The requirement for shorter delivery times by private customers has also reinforced this effect. A further increase in road freight transport can be expected in the future due to the ongoing trend of increasing e-commerce activities resulting in more deliveries of online orders.

Especially in urban areas, these developments lead to burdens on the road infrastructure as well as on residents. Conflicts of space, e.g. due to delivery vehicles stopping on the bike path, are increasing as well as local emissions. Switching to electric drives while maintaining the same modal split helps to reduce local emissions - but does not improve the burden on the road. Rather, there is a need for more efficient use of existing transport modes through cross-company, cooperative bundling concepts and intermodal solutions. One possibility in local freight transport is to use the existing rail network of public transport. By shifting local freight traffic from delivery vehicles to special light rail-based streetcars ("freight streetcar"), land conflicts in cities could be defused and capacities of the transport infrastructure could be utilized more efficiently. However, a quantification of the relief potential is not yet available. Furthermore, the organizational, managerial and technical feasibility as well as the traffic implications of an urban as well as regional supply and disposal with or of goods by rail are still unclear.


The objective of the LogIKTram project is to develop the conceptual basis for light rail-based freight transport in urban and regional traffic using the example of Karlsruhe region with efficient handling and transport procedures and to determine the effects on the overall transport system. In the process, the necessary ICT foundations have to be set in order to digitize the transport chain using freight streetcars and thus enable economic access to the light rail-based freight transport system independently of the company. The project also includes the prototypical implementation of a freight streetcar and associated critical system components.


In an iterative process, the requirements of various stakeholders from Karlsruhe region for light rail-based freight transport will first be elaborated in the form of use cases and transferred to a suitable logistics and operator concept. With a complementary planning model, the organizational and planning elements of the deployment of a freight streetcar system are thus determined. Based on this concept, the technical requirements for the freight streetcar itself and an ICT platform will be worked out and prototyped. The development of the ICT platform includes the creation of a digital twin of the freight streetcar as well as the associated logistics processes at the loading, unloading and transfer points of the freight streetcar and serves both to verify the concept and to optimize it during subsequent operation. In addition to the vehicle platform and the loading and unloading technology, the technical implementation of the freight streetcar also includes the development of a load carrier concept and the coupling technology for merging with passenger transport.

As part of the project, the Institute of Transportation (IfV) is developing a combined travel demand model for passenger and freight transport in Karlsruhe region in order to be able to determine the transportation effects of the LogIKTram concept on the road and rail network. For this purpose, the status quo of freight transport in Karlsruhe region will first be modeled with empirical data taking the existing passenger travel demand model from the regiomove project as a starting point. The modelling is integrated into the microscopic travel demand model mobiTopp developed at IfV. By extending the model to include the concept of the freight streetcars including the modeling of small freight distribution on the last mile, different design options (e.g. higher frequency, modified routing) of the LogIKTram concept are simulated in different scenarios and their effects on the overall transport system are evaluated.