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A Guide to Logistics – Researchers prepare data for Hessen’s “Logistics Atlas”

Due to its central location within Germany and the European Union, Germany’s federal state of Hessen is highly relevant for the logistics industry, for logistics processes and for logistics-related mobility.  In order to provide decision-makers in the public-sector, commerce, industry and logistics with the information they need for their logistics projects, researchers at Hessen’s five state universities for applied sciences along with Hessen State University of Art and Design, are working on a “Logistics Atlas” for the state of Hessen (“Logistikatlas Hessen”).

Business decisions as well as transportation and/or infrastructure policy decisions involving logistics are made by many different entities. Companies, for example, decide on the best sites for their logistics centers, planning associations promote and market commercial zones (e.g. business/industrial parks), and local politicians manage transportation projects. These decisions require a diverse and extensive range of different data, such as local demand levels, traffic flow data or infrastructural capacity. While some of this data is available in sufficient detail (e.g. traffic data for Germany’s autobahn highways) most of the required information is either non-existent or difficult to access. The goal of the Hessen “Logistics Atlas” is to fill this need; it provides decision-makers with detailed spatial data so that they can make informed decisions on the local or regional level.

The first “Logistics Atlas” project was recently concluded. As part of the project, which was sponsored by the House of Logistics and Mobility’s (HOLM), researchers from the five participating universities conducted an empirical study to help determine the need for logistics data and thus the actual demand for a logistics atlas of this kind. One aspect of the project involved collecting, preparing and providing access to existing data sources. Another aspect involved conducting interviews with 44 experts from around Hessen (i.e. potential users) to identify decision-making needs with regard to logistics, and then gathering the necessary data in a “Decision Dictionary”.

While the project was led by Prof. Dr. Michael Huth from Fulda University of Applied Sciences, it was carried out by ten different logistics professors – a clear demonstration of the strong ties between Hessen’s universities of applied sciences. “This cooperation would not have been possible without HOLM acting as a central platform,” says Professor Huth. “The fact that researchers from all of Hessen’s universities of applied sciences – in Darmstadt, Frankfurt, Friedberg, Fulda and Wiesbaden – are working together on the project and each contributing their strong connections to the logistics industry ensures that the data is comprehensive,” adds Prof. Dr. Kai-Oliver Schocke from Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences. “This way we can provide spatial data both for individual regions and for Hessen as a whole with the level of detail and specificity required for effective decision-making.”

The project recently published its final report in German. The report is available here for download (8.2 MB). Questions regarding the project can be addressed to any of the participating universities. Contact persons at Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences are Prof. Dr. Rico Wojanowski and Prof. Dr. Johanna Bucerius.

Dean

Prof. Dr. Christopher Almeling

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