School of Architecture and Civil Engineering

ENTLASTA - Design elements and networks for cargo bikes in urban traffic

Key data on the project:

Sponsor: German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI).

Duration: 09/2020 until 08/2023

Project manager/responsible persons: Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jürgen Gerlach, M.Sc. Felix Franke, M..Sc. Mareike Hasenburg

Brief description of the project:

Cargo bikes are gaining more importance in urban transport, both for freight and passenger transport. In the update of the NRVP, the BMVI refers to studies that about 20% of urban freight transport can be handled by cargo bikes. In many places, the public sector therefore promotes the acquisition of cargo bikes, both for private and commercial use.

In the meantime, many cargo bike models are available on the market. In addition to small load bikes (KLR) (e.g. load bikes for transporting children and freight bikes with a payload of less than 150 kg), heavy load bikes (SLR) are available that allow payloads of more than 150 kg and a load volume of more than 1 m³. For these bikes, battery electric assistance is now standard. The variance of riding dynamics and dimensions within the bicycle fleet are therefore increasing. However, different bicycles have different requirements for cycling infrastructure. In addition, bicycle traffic will increasingly occur in the future with trip purposes for which they have rarely been considered in the past.

Cities are therefore faced with the challenge of reviewing, aligning and expanding their cycling infrastructure in response to these developments in order to create functional and traffic-safe conditions for all road users.

To make this possible, the ENTLASTA project will

  • review and further develop the planning procedures for the entire cycling network to ensure harmonized network planning for all relevant cycling travel purposes , and
  • review and evaluate bicycle infrastructure facilities to meet the requirements of heavy-duty and light-duty bicycles and make design recommendations.

The goal is to make the use of cargo bicycles in both commercial and everyday traffic compatible, conflict-free, and safe for all road users and to provide functional, comfortable, and safe use for cargo bicycle users.

Network planning and infrastructure mutually influence each other. On the one hand, restrictions from the existing bicycle infrastructure that cannot be changed influence route formation in network planning. On the other hand, a strategic expansion of the bicycle infrastructure is based on this network planning, which is functionally structured and thus enables prioritization during expansion.

Freight bicycle traffic is diverse and the behavioral parameters relevant for planning depend on the bicycles used and the spatial distribution of the source and destination points. It is the task of the ENTLASTA project to prepare these for the relevant sectors. Connection-related quality standards (levels of service quality, for example, in terms of detour factors, air line speeds and longitudinal gradients) are to be developed, which are to be taken into account in network planning for bicycle traffic. The further developed network planning procedure will be applied in three cities as an example in cooperation with the city administrations in order to ensure a strong practical relevance.

Planning specifications for infrastructure elements and guidance forms for bicycle traffic will be reviewed and evaluated in the project for their suitability for small- and heavy-duty bicycles. Some infrastructure elements and guidance forms of bicycle traffic (e.g. one-way streets with clearance for counter-flowing bicycle traffic, shared sidewalks and bicycle lanes, median islands) can only be used with conflicts and safety concerns, especially with heavy-duty bicycles. In particular, when widths are too narrow, also in combination with poor surface condition, some infrastructure elements can foster conflicts with pedestrians and other cyclists.

The identified requirements for the network concept and the individual design elements will be elaborated into concrete proposals for the update of the relevant technical regulations of the Forschungsgesellschaft für Straßen und Verkehrswesen (FGSV).

In addition, the findings obtained both in terms of network planning suitable for cargo bikes and in terms of suitable infrastructure elements and general safety-related recommendations will be processed in a practical guide for municipalities in order to provide timely assistance for municipal planning practice and accordingly generate an immediate benefit.

Further information:

The project is being worked on jointly with the teaching and research areas of freight transport planning and transport logistics.

Project description on the bicycle portal of the National Cycling Plan

Media information of the University of Wuppertal

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