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Cargo bike solutions from the City of Bremen

18 January 2024

Streets blocked by delivery vans and nowhere for cargo bikes to park: these are some of the daily reminders that European cities were not built for online shopping. Despite the heavy burden on logistics due to the increase in e-commerce, innovation in sustainable logistics is on the rise. According to leading sustainable logistics experts from the City of Bremen - a regular participant in EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK and one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in Germany, where around a quarter of its 570,000 inhabitants are everyday cyclists - there is room for manoeuvre.

Cycling infrastructure is essential

As underscored by the European Cycling Declaration, attractive and inclusive cycling infrastructure is key to improving sustainable transport in cities. Through the recent Urban Logistics as an On-Demand Service (ULaaDS) project, the City of Bremen has showcased how cycle-friendliness is essential to enable the shift from delivery vans to cargo bikes. Additionally, it is necessary for all parties to play their role in implementing and enforcing the given regulations. Loading zones, for example, really need to be available for loading, which is not always the case.

Effective communications for greater acceptance

A key finding for Bremen in its mission to transition to a cargo bike-friendly city, is to ensure effective and transparent communication with all stakeholders. Through surveys, the city was able to learn from the experience of the different parties, as well as by establishing a communications forum for representatives of public authorities, logistics and service providers, retailers, experts and other relevant parties. This has led to greater acceptance and understanding of the needs of each stakeholder group for sustainable solutions. As explained by Michael Glotz-Richter, Sustainable Mobility, City of Bremen:

“We have to deal here with a highly competitive market; […] we have to ensure we have a fair treatment of all market players […]to try to understand each other.”

Cargo bikes for households

The potential of cargo bikes for logistics doesn’t stop at e-commerce. A huge number of individual car trips are for household shopping purposes, which are often short distances and, therefore, have the greatest potential to be replaced by cargo bikes. According to a pilot scheme conducted in Bremen to test the potential impact of cargo bikes at the household level, respondents claimed that 55% of their cargo bike trips replaced what would otherwise have been a car journey.

Get inspired by the activities implemented by Bremen and other towns and cities during EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2023.

Learn more about the ULaaDS project here.