Lifeline Commercial Transport
Almost one third of all kilometres travelled on roads in Germany today consist of commercial transport; a third of it is freight transport. 4 million companies rely on an efficient transport system every day. More than 80 million people receive services and parcels at home.
High growth dynamic
Globalization, European integration, and new supply chains have led to fast growth in international trade in recent decades. Fuelled by e-commerce, the number of distributed parcels shows a strong annual double-digit growth. Due to this strong growth, both in regional freight transport and in last-mile distribution, the negative effects of commercial transport are continually increasing – noise, local air pollution, global greenhouse gas emissions, traffic disruptions, and accidents.
The sustainable and future-oriented design of commercial transport drives our research and consulting at the Institute of Transport Research. Particularly in light of further growth in interregional freight transport and increasing small consignments in cities, companies and municipalities need to develop new concepts in order ensure both the supply of goods and the quality of life in cities. We contribute to these challenges with scientifically based expertise. In research projects we answer relevant questions on commercial transport for our clients. Here we derive recommendations for transport policy, for developing sustainable technologies and business models, as well as for the diffusion of innovation in logistics.
Commercial transport is highly heterogeneous – in terms of different areas, different modes of transport, and in terms of different actors in production, trade, logistics, and transport. For the analysis of interrelationships and developments, we build on the experience of our other departments "Passenger Transport" and "Mobility and Urban Development". Cooperation with other DLR institutes allows us to investigate new vehicle and logistics concepts for road, rail, and intermodal transport, and to test them together with our practice partners.
Diversity in research
Our particular strength is interdisciplinary research. We have experts in transport, economics, engineering, geography, and mathematics. The mix of analytical methods of our team includes empirical studies, multivariate data analysis, formal forecasting models, and scenario techniques. Our research tasks performed are multifaceted and include qualitative and quantitative field research, case studies, implementation-oriented innovation projects, co-design of vehicle and logistics concepts, as well as model-based impact analysis of policy measures, technological developments, and entrepreneurial initiatives.
Our tools and methods
To support decision-making processes, we develop empirically-based behavioral-models that allow for the impact assessment of policy measures affecting commercial transport. For example, in urban freight traffic, we can perform microscopic simulations utilizing MATSim, SUMO, and FREIGHT TRANSPORT LAB / jsprit models. Additionally, a shipment-size choice-model has been developed. Since 2017, freight transport has been integrated in the DLR transport model DEMO. For this purpose, the freight transport demand model DEMO-GV was set up, which is an integrated 3-stage model with modules for freight transport generation, freight transport distribution, and mode choice. With our truck fleet model, for example, we can estimate the penetration of new vehicle classes with alternative drive technologies. This allows us to calculate greenhouse gas emissions based on model results of annual mileage.