Impacts of long distance high speed rail freight transportation on inner-city logistics and development

Research output: Contribution to conferencesPosterContributedpeer-review


In the last 10 years, the volume of consignments in the courier, express and parcel service industry in Germany has doubled to 4 billion consignments per year. The increased volume of consignments is causing rising strain on inner-city infrastructures and has therefore gained public and research relevance. These consignments are mainly transported by fossil fuel vehicles. In order to reduce the volume of traffic and emissions, rail transport offers an alternative to long distance road freight traffic.

Considering the existing concept of inner-city transshipment centres by rail, which enable a last mile by small electric vehicles, we take into account high-speed rail freight transport between major German cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants. High-speed rail freight transports are necessary in this logistics sector to be able to keep delivery promises, such as Just in Time Delivery or Next Day Delivery. We model the transport routes between the cities by rail and by road freight transport. Creating different scenarios such as direct connections as well as the usage of a central hub and comparing transport concepts with variable boundary conditions allows us to carry out sensitivity analyses.

This approach allows us to determine which thresholds are required for relevant parameters to enable high-speed rail freight transport in the supply of cities. We consider parameters such as costs, emissions, time, and capacities. By defining an impact factor consisting of multiple city effecting parameters such as noise or pollution we are able to include the influences on inner city transport logistics.
Due to our research, we can make assumptions about future urban development regarding high-speed rail transport between cities. We demonstrate to which extent high-speed rail freight traffic can be integrated into a sustainable inner-city supply chain of the future. Based on our results, new fields of research in sustainable urban logistics are emerging.


Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


TitleUrban Transitions 2022
SubtitleIntegrating urban and transport planning, environment and health for healthier urban living
Duration8 - 10 November 2022
Degree of recognitionInternational event


Sustainable Development Goals