Clean, quiet, needs-based and pioneering: these are the cornerstones of the “USEFUL” development project – “Understanding, Simulation and Evaluation for Urban Logistics.” With funding from the German government to the tune of €2m, strong partners from business and science as well as the involvement of local people, the aim is to gather data for alternative logistics concepts in pilot districts in Hannover by way of testing under real conditions until 2019 (living labs). The project includes a traffic management system, which will hold data about the flow of traffic, emissions, vehicles and fleets.
This data will flow into a web-enabled tool for simulation in different urban spaces. The results of the project will be practical and transferable to other city centres, where - like Hannover - new concepts are needed because of population growth and the impact of delivery traffic stemming, for example, from the rise in online trade. Digital communication and control technologies will be used to help organise needs-based transport and avoid uncoordinated empty runs.
The city of Hannover is supported in this urban logistics project by a range of expert partners: Volkswagen/VWN (Europe’s biggest manufacturer of light-duty commercial vehicles), Deutsche Post/DHL-Group (market leader for logistics), Hannover AG (enercity) (public utilities), Leibniz University and Hannover University for Applied Sciences and Arts, the Niedersächsische Forschungszentrum Fahrzeugtechnik (NFF) (research centre for automotive engineering) at the Technische Universität Braunschweig and the state of Lower Saxony.
One aspect of the project involves ensuring that the future of logistics will be characterised by low-emissions: soon in Hannover there will be more electric vehicles on the road for urban and commercial passenger, goods and services transport. The DHL Group is set to switch parts of its delivery fleet to specially developed electro-vehicles (StreetScooters); enercity is also aiming to convert its fleet and also make the charging infrastructure a “beacon of electromobility in Hannover.”
€1.2 billion invested in logistics
The Hannover region has already brought 360 hectares of space to the market for logistics in the past 10 years. €1.2 billion has been invested in 90 site and property projects; 6,600 new jobs equates to 25% growth. The location also benefits from its position in relation to the German sea ports and derives huge significance from a dense network of well-known national and international logistics service providers and enterprises. The logistics economy is the third largest individual industry in the region and is thus at the centre of the regional labour market.