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Intermodal network design: a three-mode bi-objective model applied to the case of Belgium

Research paper by Martine Mostert, An Caris; Sabine Limbourg

Indexed on: 21 Jan '17Published on: 12 Jan '17Published in: Flexible Services and Manufacturing Journal



Abstract

Abstract Freight transport planning is nowadays encouraged to align with environmental objectives. Among those, climate change is of particular interest for many countries. In its White Paper on Transport, the European Commission considers intermodal transport as a potential solution for reducing environmental impacts. In order to make good strategic transport decisions, realistic decision support models for freight transport networks must be developed, so that insights can be derived for the different stakeholders of the transportation chain. This research proposes a bi-objective mathematical formulation which takes into account economic and environmental objectives, on a road and intermodal network with three modes of transport (road, intermodal rail, and intermodal inland waterways), and in which economies of scale of intermodal transport can be considered. With this model better fitting reality, an application to the Belgian case study provides practical information on how flows, terminal types and locations vary depending on the chosen policy, on the integration or not of economies of scale, on costs or emissions modifications and on the number of terminals to locate. Results show that the chosen policy influences the terminal type and the intermodal market share. The study also highlights the interest of intermodal transport on short distances, and the risk of flow exchanges inside the intermodal market share, rather than between road and intermodal transport.AbstractFreight transport planning is nowadays encouraged to align with environmental objectives. Among those, climate change is of particular interest for many countries. In its White Paper on Transport, the European Commission considers intermodal transport as a potential solution for reducing environmental impacts. In order to make good strategic transport decisions, realistic decision support models for freight transport networks must be developed, so that insights can be derived for the different stakeholders of the transportation chain. This research proposes a bi-objective mathematical formulation which takes into account economic and environmental objectives, on a road and intermodal network with three modes of transport (road, intermodal rail, and intermodal inland waterways), and in which economies of scale of intermodal transport can be considered. With this model better fitting reality, an application to the Belgian case study provides practical information on how flows, terminal types and locations vary depending on the chosen policy, on the integration or not of economies of scale, on costs or emissions modifications and on the number of terminals to locate. Results show that the chosen policy influences the terminal type and the intermodal market share. The study also highlights the interest of intermodal transport on short distances, and the risk of flow exchanges inside the intermodal market share, rather than between road and intermodal transport.