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01.09.2015 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 3/2015 Open Access

European Transport Research Review 3/2015

Prioritization in modal shift: determining a region’s most suitable freight flows

European Transport Research Review > Ausgabe 3/2015
Dries Meers, Cathy Macharis



Different policy measures have been introduced to enhance a modal shift from road-only to intermodal transport. In Northwestern European countries such as Belgium, policy makers are increasingly trying to approach shippers on an individual basis in order to convince them about the potential benefits of intermodal transport for their company. This paper proposes a tool to identify the most promising cases for modal shift in a predetermined region.


The suggested methodology takes the form of a Geographic Information System-based macro-scan. It ranks geographic entities (or companies within) according to their modal shift potential, based on a list of space- and network-dependent criteria, such as transport volumes, transport price, post haulage transport time and product characteristics.


The methodology was applied to a transboundary case study in Belgium and the Netherlands. The results of the analysis can serve as input for a micro-scan that identifies the suitable companies in the most favorable areas. A sensitivity analysis is performed to check the robustness of the weights given to the considered criteria.


The proposed methodology allows ranking geographic entities according to their modal shift potential, providing a strong tool to policy makers to focus their modal shift efforts on a limited number of transport flows with a high success rate. The practical usefulness of the results of the analysis is however highly dependent on the quality and the level of detail of the transport flows input data.
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