Impacts of efficiency increases of heavy goods vehicles

In most countries the heavy goods vehicles are those freight vehicles with a gross mass greater than either 3.5 t or 4.5 t. The maximum allowed weights and dimensions of road freight vehicles are regulated and vary in each country. High Capacity Vehicles (HCVs) are vehicles that exceed the general weight and dimension limitations in the country and are usually operated in limited geographical areas or on specific routes in the country under a special regime. Therefore, a 5-axle vehicle that is 22m long with the mass of 44 tons could be considered a HCV in one country, but would fall into the general freight vehicles category in another country.

The distinguishing characteristic of HCVs from the business perspective is that they are able to transport a larger weight or/and volume of cargo in one trip than a conventional freight vehicle would. This leads to a range of implications for the transport operators, shippers of the goods, regulators and the society. Continue reading “Impacts of efficiency increases of heavy goods vehicles”

Resilience of supply chains

The ITF has just published the findings of the Roundtable on “Balancing Efficiency and Resilience in Multimodal Supply Chains” in the Chair’s Summary and Conclusions. In this report Prof. Alan McKinnon examines how efficiency and resilience can be balanced in the management of multi-modal supply chains. It investigates the trade-off between supply chain resilience and efficiency, the approaches to sustainability in supply chain management, innovation and technological development, collaboration and alliances and risk mitigation.

Continue reading “Resilience of supply chains”

Paper “ITS Applications for Higher Productivity of Road Freight Transport”

Our paper on “ITS Applications for Higher Productivity of Road Freight Transport” was presented by Dr Tom Vöge at the HVTT15 symposium in Rotterdam last week.

Image source: HVTT15

Abstract: Recent years have shown ever increasing road freight volumes and it is forecast that the increase is likely to continue. At the same time investment in the road infrastructure is declining, which puts more stress on existing infrastructure that will have to handle the increasing road traffic volumes. This paper investigates how increasing the productivity of the road freight vehicles could be a part of the solution. And how the use of ITS technologies, including vehicle tracking, route planning and geo-fencing, could ensure political acceptability of these vehicles and minimise costly infrastructure upgrades. Some of the approaches that could be used to proceed with increasing weights and dimensions of road freight vehicles to improve their productivity are outlined.

You can download the paper here, and access the other papers from the symposium here.

“Bikes vs. Cars” Screening at the OECD

The documentary “Bikes vs. Cars” was screened this week at the OECD. It talks about how the previous decades of car-centric city planning have made our cities less liveable with large city areas consumed by road infrastructure that is exclusively designed for car use. The movie also shows the conflict and the pain that is associated with a push for a change. There is active resistance as well.

In my city there is a biking movement that advocates for more cycling and safer streets, and a lot of cities around the globe have such movements. A lot of work is already done on cycling safety, and valuable lessons can be learned from that. In the long run it will contribute better policies and more people changing their lifestyle: starting to cycle and living longer, healthier and happier lives.

I hope we can make cycling the “natural choice” for everybody, but that requires a lot of work both on the city infrastructure side, and on changing the mindset of the commuters. Having a car-free Sunday once a year is not enough. I wish we could have a car free day in the big cities every day, like in the town of Giethoorn.

You can watch the movie online here.

IEA-DG ENER Workshop on “Electrofuels”

The International Energy Agency (IEA) and European Commission (EC) organised a workshop on electrofuels in coordination with the IEA Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCP) Bioenergy, Hydrogen, Clean and Efficient Combustion, Advanced Fuel Cells, and Advanced Motor Fuels as well as the Art Fuels Forum. The workshop was held in Brussels on Monday, 10 September 2018.

Electrofuels are gaseous or liquid fuels that are generated using electricity. The recent rapid cost reduction of renewable electricity has generated an interest in using renewable electricity for production of electrofuels to aid with decarbonising global economy which is of particular interest to transport.

My takeaways from the discussions are:

  • Electrofuels are available for use today, but adoption is slow due to their high cost in comparison with fossil fuels.
  • Although electrofuels provide a pathway to saving emissions in transport, these savings are much lower than direct us of electricity in transport can provide.
  • Use of electrofuels requires approximately 6 times more electricity than battery electric vehicles require for the same “job”.
  • The combustion of electrifuels still generates harmful emissions (carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, un-burnt hydrocarbons and particulate matter), which will limit or prevent their use in cities.

More information, including the programme and presentations, is available here.

Efficiency of hydrogen cars

Have you ever wondered why driving a hydrogen car is so expensive in comparison with battery electric vehicle? This video explains why by showing the technical differences between hydrogen and battery electric vehicles.

Decarbonising Road Freight Transport Workshop

On 28 – 29 June 2018 International Transport Forum / OECD held  workshop on Decarbonising Road Freight Transport, which was part of the Road Freight work stream of the ITF-led Decarbonising Transport Initiative, which aims to identify and promote policies which are both cost-effective in mitigating the climate change impact of road freight activities and which improve the sector’s operational efficiency. The workshop brought together more than 50 participants from different parts of the world and diverse backgrounds with an interest in clean and sustainable road freight: government officials, energy companies, vehicle manufacturers, shippers, logistic suppliers, academia, research centres, professional organisations and representatives from international organisations.

The workshop’s objective was to gather initial evidence on the cost-effectiveness of different decarbonising measures and their policy implications.

I contributed to the discussions with presentation “Vehicle efficiency: High Capacity Vehicles”. The slides of my presentation can be downloaded here. Some photos from the workshop are available here.

International Transport Forum 2018 Summit

It has been an honour to be a part of the organising team of the International Transport Forum’s 2018 Summit, which is traditionally held in Leipzig.

The Panel session Ensuring secure and resilient supply chains explored the trade-offs between supply chain resilience, efficiency and sustainability. The discussion focused on problems that the supply chain actors are facing, approaches for overcoming these problems and, how some of the approaches taken could result in greater sustainability of supply chains with positive environmental impacts. The participants of the session Jean-Luc di Paola-Galloni, Christian Labrot, Alan McKinnon, Catherine Trautmann, Ricardo Treviño Chapa and the moderator Juliette Foster made it a success.

The session ITS technologies for safer and more secure road freight transport focussed on one of the issues that the ITF group on ITS for High Capacity Transport (HCT) is working on. It still is one of the most discussed topics in all countries where introduction of HCT is under consideration. This session discussed the results from recently completed research and ongoing pilots.