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Report on the results

The cargo bike as a regional mobility offer

A cargo bike
© Doris Reichel

Application scenarios for cargo bike rental systems

In close cooperation with three regional and five municipal partners, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (IML) worked on fundamental research about the prerequisites, strategies and potentials of the promotion and establishment of rental systems for cargo bikes in Frankfurt metropolitan region. Within the scope of the project funded by the HOLM Innovationsförderung, two extensive workshops with the involved partners were held during the period from January to June 2016, in which scenarios for cargo bike rental systems could be specified. The result of this work “The Cargo Bike as a Regional Mobility Offer” has now been published (in German).

Three exemplary implementation strategies

Within the scope of the project process, three exemplary implementation strategies with the names "Public", "Commercial" and "Private" were identified, having for example different operating and financing models. These strategies serve as a basis for the local communities, users and companies to enter the topic.

Shared mobility solutions are cost-effective

Whether electric cars, electric bicycles or electric freight bikes: battery-electric mobility solutions are (yet) comparatively expensive compared to established technologies and therefore unattractive for many private individuals. In the light of economic reasons, "sharing systems" can be a sensible solution for electromobility. Due to the high utilization of the vehicles, the comparatively high fixed costs can be distributed in small proportions to the individual users. Since the mileage-related costs of electric mobility are generally significantly lower than with conventional vehicles, an overall economic advantage can be achieved.

At present, the high purchase prices for cargo bikes keep many people from getting to know this form of mobility and to use it in everyday life. Not only for economic reasons, but also purely for practical reasons, many people reject to buy these bikes for their own: Cargo bikes are bulky and not everybody has access to suitable parking options, so a solution with public usage is therefore an alternative.

Operational models and possible implementation examples

Municipalities and regions can pursue different strategies for the promotion of such systems. In the project, therefore, operator models were systematised and presented using possible implementation examples. On the other hand, municipalities can also take action themselves and expand the public transport network to include cargo bicycles.

However, such a mobility offer cannot be financed solely on the basis of usage fees, as exemplified by the full cost estimates. External funding is needed, which can be based on strategic partnerships and local mobility alliances, or through participation in public or private funding projects.

Approaches for further research activities

As approaches for further research, the project showed that is required: a) the realization of pilot projects, ideally accompanied by social acceptance and social research; b) the development of appropriate communication strategies to provide citizens with the benefits of a public multimodality offer against private individual transport, and c) the offer and further development of the product (i.e. design).