Rural areas in Germany are facing challenges with regard to poor public transport accessibility and a lack of freight distribution systems that fit the need of sparsely populated areas. Public transport services in many rural areas are either discontinued or offered fragmented with the help of state subsidies due to low passenger numbers and capacity utilization. Some of these challenges are linked to a changing population structure and increasing urbanization. The literature suggests three promising approaches here. First, the integration of freight movement into scheduled public transport services. Second, the utilization of private transport capacities for goods delivery in the form of crowdshipping. And third, the restructuring of public fixed line services into mobility-on-demand systems. To assess whether the approaches presented here provide a real alternative and to determine the implications and trade-offs involved, the conditions in sparsely populated regions will be considered.
Susanne Gillig joined KLU in March 2022 as a PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Dr. André Ludwig and Prof. Dr. Hanno Friedrich. Susanne holds a degree in Industrial Engineering (B.Eng.) from the University of Applied Sciences in Munich and a degree in Business & Project Management (M.Sc.) from London South Bank University. Her main research interest lies in innovative transport systems. Specifically, she investigates different approaches that are considered promising to improve mobility access and physical goods delivery in rural areas. Her work is funded by the research project CargoSurfer (Ministry for Digital and Transport).