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Clean air in transportation


Smart cities


Electromobile Logistics for the City of Ettlingen

20. March 2023

Solution provider

BABLE Smart Cities

BABLE provides business and technology services for smart city green solutions. We create automated services that simplify and offer expert advice to guide transition, development and scaling. Our online Smart City solutions platform, free to join and use, provides companies and cities with information and inspiration on urban green solutions that work.

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The city of Ettlingen in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, started its own mobility app project. The particular challenge regarded the rural location of the city. As a result of this, Ettlingen relied heavily upon the logistical capacities of its largest neighbour, Karlsruhe. It was recognised that this dependence and limited logistical capacity was hampering the potential for commercial and green economic growth within the city and its surrounding area.

Traffic congestion in the city centre and the related local air pollution issues were another issue to be faced. The limited logistics infrastructure was seen as playing a key role in this concern, with no coordination of deliveries ameliorating the issues.

After initial groundwork steps, the Ettlingen authorities soon realised the benefits which would come from bringing in external support to face this challenge. Contact was made with BABLE Smart Cities and the project sprang into life.


The first important step was defining of the project’s objectives and framework conditions. Checks were made to determine different action fields in facing the logistics problems.  

The various important elements of the logistics infrastructure were discovered and detailed. For instance, a micro-logistics hub was seen as being key to reducing the traffic congestion issues. This hub, located slightly outside of the city centre, would be the initial location of all parcels and packages for delivery into the city. Local logistics companies would then be responsible for the delivery of these parcels to package stations within the city centre. A local company, Pakadoo, became the most important cog in this stage, whose innovative software ensured logistics could be run smoothly despite the large-scale of the hub operations.

Another highlighted aspect was the ensuring of an environmentally friendly ‘last mile’ delivery stage. To this end, e-cargo bikes were made available for rental for free for the local businesses, meaning they could pick up the parcels with ease.

From early on, the importance of identifying suitable (local) stakeholders was understood. This focus eventually led to the formation of the project consortium, built up of all the stakeholders involved in the various relevant fields of logistical infrastructure. This consortium was also vocal in the designing of the project.

Another key step was ensuring funding opportunities were found to ensure the longevity of the project. Financial planning was conducted, as well as applications for subsidies (incl. coordination with the subsidy provider). In the end funding was split 50:50 between the state of Baden-Württemberg and the private sector companies involved in the created consortium.


Ultimately the pilot showed that it is possible to realise and implement such a project in a relatively short timeframe, as well as showing that collaboration can be an important and effective tool for such aims.

The various implemented aspects of the logistics infrastructure laid the groundwork for freeing up traffic in the city centre, helping to incentivise more shoppers and visitors into the area, as well as showing the potential to enact local environment and pollution improvements.

The companies and organisations involved in the consortium were particularly helpful in driving the project further, suggesting the importance of involving local stakeholders, who can help drive the change they want to see and improve their own lives and surrounding environment.

There were positive takeaways for a number of the involved stakeholders. For BABLE, this has been seen as a best practice of how to see the implementation of an idea in a real-world setting. For Pakadoo, the local logistics company, this showed a proof of concept, that their logistics hub tool could be used in a different complex to the initial intentions.

The Ettlingen authorities also took a lot away from the pilot project. In particular, the medium-sized city was able to show that even rural areas can implement highly innovative smart solutions.