The purpose of this paper is to review the developments of the last 15 years in the field of Freight Transport research and innovation, primarily (but not exclusively) in Europe focusing on the “Intelligent Transport Systems” aspects.
In doing so, the paper gives first, a summary of key developments and technologies in ITS related innovation in the freight transport sector over the past 15 years. Then a summary of the main achievements in terms of new technologies that were developed from European (mainly EU funded) research. Finally, the paper discusses the current research gaps and thus priorities for the future, and presents the “main drivers” of innovation in this field.
The results of the work are, besides the overall review of the activities and achievements in this field, a novel typology concerning freight ITS, a summary of the most recent technological developments in the field of freight transport, the areas where more work in needed in the future, and finally the priority areas for future research.
In conclusion the article stresses the fact that the main challenge in the near future will be to drastically increase the intelligence of freight transport operations, convert raw data to useful information, and how to make it all available to all players irrespective of size. The main areas of application where most of the attention is likely to be directed in the coming years, are:
✓ City Logistics;
✓ Advanced models and methods to optimize the planning and performance of Freight Transport Operations;
✓ Creating the appropriate e-business environment, and
✓ Creating the framework for the full exploitation of the capabilities of “intelligent” freight (e-freight).