COROTRANS: Effects of the CORONA pandemic on logistics, mobility, and the transportation system

The outbreak of the new CORONA virus (Sars-CoV-2) and its rapid global spread pose major challenges for the world. To reduce the speed of the virus' spread and prevent overloading of national health systems, governments around the world have taken measures to restrict social contacts and the mobility of their populations. In Germany, too, measures taken at various times have included restricting the number of social contacts allowed outside one's own household, introducing night-time curfews, closing large sections of the retail sector as well as schools and leisure facilities, and limiting the radius of movement to 15 kilometers around one's home.

In the COROTRANS project, the short-, medium- and long-term consequences of these measures on passenger transport, commercial transport (especially logistics) and the transport system as a whole in Germany will be investigated. Different phases of the pandemic, such as the lockdown in March and April 2020, the easing of many restrictions in June and July 2020, and the closure of large parts of the retail and leisure sectors from November 2020, will be considered separately.

The project examines many different areas of transportation or mobility. For example, it analyzes the impact of the pandemic on the trip lengths and trip purposes of people in Germany and their changing preferences in their choice of transportation. At the same time, the consequences of increased online trade on logistics and freight transport are examined. Finally, the planning processes behind local infrastructure measures taken in individual cities to promote safe and sustainable mobility even during the pandemic will be examined.

All departments of the DLR Institute of Transport Research are involved in the implementation of the project.


Objectives of the project are the analysis of

  1. the mobility behavior of the German population at different times of the pandemic,
  2. the effects on freight transport and especially logistics,
  3. the change of infrastructural utilization with regard to the use of different means of transport in passenger as well as freight traffic,
  4. the effects of political control measures on mobility,
  5. infrastructure measures and planning processes that can contribute to a resilient city with sustainable urban mobility.


In COROTRANS, many different data sources are analyzed in order to draw as holistic a picture as possible of the effects of the CORONA pandemic on traffic in Germany. On the one hand, this includes conducting quantitative surveys using a panel representative of the population in Germany at different stages of the pandemic, as well as conducting focus group interviews. In parallel, qualitative interviews will be conducted with freight forwarders, logistics companies, experts in urban and transport planning, and decision-makers in local authorities. Finally, data sets such as GPS-based floating car data and publicly accessible bicycle and pedestrian counting stations read out via webscraping methods and programming interfaces (APIs) to position data of e-treadrollers and rental bicycles will be used.

The knowledge gained on this basis will also be used to adapt a travel demand model of passenger transportation to represent mobility behavior during the Corona pandemic. The model is used to calculate different scenarios to evaluate the effect of policy measures, such as the closure of recreational facilities, schools and parts of the retail sector or the shift of work to home offices, on traffic.

Based on the model results and the findings from the analyses of the empirical data, political recommendations for action are developed that aim to set the course for long-term sustainable mobility already during the pandemic.


COROTRANS is funded as an independent part of the project "Transport and Climate" (TraK) within the institutional funding of DLR.

Project partner

The project is carried out by the Institute of Transport Research.

Project duration

From 04/2020 to 12/2021