Frankfurt: is DHL clogging the streets? New study surprised


The streets in Frankfurt are often congested. Are DHL and other parcel services responsible? Researchers are investigating the question – with surprising results.

  • Many road users are annoyed: The Streets in Frankfurt are full and clogged.
  • Who is responsible for the situation? Parcel services as DHL, Hermes and Co?
  • Researchers at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences (UAS) come up with a surprising result.

Frankfurt – The commercial traffic is clogging the inner city more and more Frankfurt. The Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences (UAS) has been investigating the situation for several years. From this, the researchers have now formulated recommendations for action that are quite surprising.

Can’t find a parking space? Local residents and visitors to the city center suffer from this Frankfurt. Suppliers, craftsmen and women are everywhere Parcel services as DHL. And thus also block each other. UAS researchers have discovered that three quarters of delivery vehicles are small, mostly cars or vans. But only 40 percent of drivers use parking spaces. 36 percent stop on the road, 14 percent on sidewalks.

No parking spaces in Frankfurt: parcel transporters from DHL and Co are ubiquitous

For five years, the researchers have been investigating how commercial traffic can be made more compatible. One of the most important findings: Parcel transporter from DHL and Co are ubiquitous, but they only make around ten percent of the stopping and parking processes in commercial traffic in Frankfurt out. They “are not the big problem”, says Petra Schäfer, professor for traffic planning and one of the heads of the Research Lab for Urban Transport, the research laboratory for urban traffic at the UAS. “That surprised us,” says Schäfer.

In contrast, suppliers form the largest group in commercial traffic in the city with 40 percent – ahead of craftsmen with 22 percent. So here must intervene if you want to improve the situation. The researchers have now presented their findings and recommendations to Klaus Oesterling (SPD), Head of Transport. A more targeted control is a matter for the city Frankfurtsays Schäfer. She “has to want it and implement it”.

Frankfurt: Parcel services like DHL are the easiest to get hold of

Because Parcel services with only a few, large providers (DHL, Hermes, UPS, etc.) are easiest to grasp, the researchers tried new ways of delivering. The parcel tram for Hermes ran through in 2019 Frankfurt. In 2017 a micro-depot was set up for UPS suppliers in Meisengasse near Freßgass. Vans bring parcels there in the morning, employees deliver them to the surrounding area by hand truck and cargo bike.

Suppliers stop at Freßgass to deliver their goods. In the already full city center, commercial traffic is becoming more and more of a problem. Researchers at the University of Applied Sciences (UAS) have come up with suggestions on how the city can create relief.

© Michael Faust

So in Frankfurt many transport trips and thus emissions avoided. Suppliers are also spared the stress of looking for registration options. According to the researchers, the two-stage delivery is very compatible, especially for pedestrian zones in Frankfurt. They recommend setting up microdepots in the city as “delivery islands”, even for several providers at the same time. In new building projects, for example, they can also be easily integrated into the urban space, says Schäfer.

Suppliers in Frankfurt: Researchers recommend “converting a lot more parking spaces into delivery zones”

Suppliers, the largest group, “are not that easy to pick up,” says the researcher. Routes are compiled ad hoc and lead to countless delivery points – retail, pharmacies, flower shops, restaurants. Therefore, the researchers recommend a lot more parking spaces in Frankfurt to convert them into delivery zones and to temporarily open lanes as delivery zones from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Private cars should be pushed into underground garages and multi-storey car parks through price and time incentives. Schäfer emphasizes that if there is more space for suppliers, that also has a positive effect on the environment: “Then the drivers are happy, park longer and walk to the delivery points.”

And then there are the craftsmen who – so the researchers found – already in the zones for suppliers in Frankfurt parked. “The craftsman’s parking permit is seen as a license to be able to stand anywhere,” explains Petra Schäfer. From early in the morning, the vehicles are parked all day long where suppliers and parcel services should be able to stop in the morning.

University of Applied Sciences in Frankfurt calls for “short-term parking spaces” for suppliers

Of course, local craftsmen should be encouraged, says the researcher. They would also have to be able to park close to where they were deployed, as they often needed their vehicles as a rolling workshop. The researchers therefore pragmatically propose to set up short-term parallel parking spaces for suppliers in front of the regular, mostly transverse parking spaces for craftsmen. “They usually only stand there for a short time, and if someone wants to go out, they don’t have to wait long.”

An alternative could be a regional allocation of the number of craftsmen in the city center. This is practiced successfully in the Netherlands, explains the professor. Something like this could also be easily controlled via an app. (Dennis Pfeiffer-Goldmann)

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