Enhancing the efficiency of freight transport by using simulation
Saranen, Juha (2009-06-17)
Lappeenranta University of Technology
Acta Universitatis Lappeenrantaensis
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
The role of transport in the economy is twofold. As a sector of economic activity it contributes to a share of national income. On the other hand, improvements in transport infrastructure create room for accelerated economic growth. As a means to support railways as a safe and environmentally friendly transportation mode, the EU legislation has required the opening of domestic railway freight for competition from beginning of year 2007. The importance of railways as a mode of transport has been great in Finland, as a larger share of freight has been carried on rails than in Europe on average. In this thesis it is claimed that the efficiency of goods transport can be enhanced by service specific investments. Furthermore, it is stressed that simulation can and should be used to evaluate the cost-efficiency of transport systems on operational level, as well as to assess transportation infrastructure investments. In all the studied cases notable efficiency improvements were found. For example in distribution, home delivery of groceries can be almost twice as cost efficient as the current practice of visiting the store. The majority of the cases concentrated on railway freight. In timber transportation, the item with the largest annual transport volume in domestic railway freight in Finland, the transportation cost could be reduced most substantially. Also in international timber procurement, the utilization of railway wagons could be improved by combining complementary flows. The efficiency improvements also have positive environmental effects; a large part of road transit could be moved to rails annually. If impacts of freight transport are included in cost-benefit analysis of railway investments, up to 50 % increase in the net benefits of the evaluated alternatives can be experienced, avoiding a possible inbuilt bias in the assessment framework, and thus increasing the efficiency of national investments in transportation infrastructure. Transportation systems are a typical example of complex real world systems that cannot be analysed realistically by analytical methods, whereas simulation allows inclusion of dynamics and the level of detail required. Regarding simulation as a viable tool for assessing the efficiency of transportation systems finds support also in the international survey conducted for railway freight operators; operators use operations research methods widely for planning purposes, while simulation is applied only by the larger operators.
- Väitöskirjat