Transporting more freight by rail is a critical factor in protecting the climate, but the volume of freight transported by rail is actually declining in the majority of EU countries. Fraunhofer ISI examined the political and economic changes needed to shift more freight onto rails.
In the LowCarb-RFC project, the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI and its project partners are exploring how European rail freight corridors can become carbon-neutral in the long term.
The focus here is on two questions:
1. What impacts does shifting freight transport to rail have on the affected regions and their transport systems?
2. How do the key institutions have to be reformed in order to manage this shift?
These questions are explored based on the examples of two European freight transport corridors that intersect in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia: the Rhine-Alpine corridor from the Benelux countries to Northern Italy, and the North Sea-Baltic corridor that runs from the Benelux countries to Poland. The project team applies transport simulation models and sustainability assessments, examines institutional reform processes within and outside the transport sector and operates a platform to exchange and share knowledge and experiences with freight transporters.
The recently published report “Myth or Possibility – Institutional Reforms and Change Management for Mode Shift in Freight Transport” analyzes the interaction of policy instruments and company strategies to improve the competitiveness of rail freight operators.
The authors of the study stress that it is absolutely essential to change organizational structures and institutions in addition to capacity expansion, digitalization and modernization of the railways. Experience has shown, however, that in large enterprises this often only occurs under huge external pressure and clear political framework conditions. The authors assume that the partially far-reaching internal reform processes of the European railways will not be sufficient to significantly increase their market share in freight transportation again.
To start with, new players – whether rail operators or logistics companies – must be allowed access to the market. The resulting competitive situation would increase the competitiveness of railways compared to roads in the long term by occupying niches with new technologies and by applying internet-based business models, among other things.
Dr. Claus Doll, the project coordinator from Fraunhofer ISI, emphasizes: “Market niches give new rail companies the opportunity to grow and develop in the long term into important players on national or international rail markets. Promising concepts include forward-looking logistics, application- and results-based product-service systems as well as horizontal cooperation and the pooling of expertise.
The relevant processes can also take place within already established enterprises. Companies do not have to change their entire business model, but can continue to concentrate their core business on traditional goods transportation. The most successful market participants are those who complement their traditional business model by implementing these kinds of new concepts.”
Above all, the challenge presented by digitalization cannot be managed by new players alone: This requires fundamental changes in the operating systems that are currently in the hands of Deutsche Bahn in Germany. The study refers to automation, autonomous driving and efficiency improvements as the most important innovations.
First and foremost, however, technical and organizational standardization is necessary, for example, standardizing the language used in transportation as well as the electricity supply and safety systems in the European rail sector. This would make cross-border transportation much easier. Once again, however, this requires clear guidelines and support by market forces and political regulations.
About the project:
The LowCarb-RFC project (European Rail Freight Corridors going Carbon Neutral) is funded by the Stiftung Mercator in cooperation with the European Climate Foundation. Alongside Fraunhofer ISI, the project team comprises Fraunhofer IML, INFRAS AG, M-Five, T&E Transport & Environment and the University of Antwerp. Twelve publications are planned in total. The recently published synthesis report “Myth or Possibility – Institutional Reforms and Change Management for Mode Shift in Freight Transport” deals with the first of the study’s three major topics. The conclusions are supported by three detailed working papers that are available on the project’s website.
https://www.isi.fraunhofer.de/content/dam/isi/dokumente/ccn/2018/LowCarb-RFC_SR1... Report “Myth or Possibility – Institutional Reforms and Change Management for Mode Shift in Freight Transport”
https://www.isi.fraunhofer.de/en/competence-center/nachhaltigkeit-infrastrukturs... Project page LowCarb-RFC.
Anne-Catherine Jung | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
3D mobility: a reality check for flying taxis
08.01.2020 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO
A helping (Sens)Hand
11.04.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO
Published by Marc Tudela, Laura Becerra-Fajardo, Aracelys García-Moreno, Jesus Minguillon and Antoni Ivorra, in Access, the journal of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
The project Electronic AXONs: wireless microstimulators based on electronic rectification of epidermically applied currents (eAXON, 2017-2022), funded by a...
The Belle II experiment has been collecting data from physical measurements for about one year. After several years of rebuilding work, both the SuperKEKB electron–positron accelerator and the Belle II detector have been improved compared with their predecessors in order to achieve a 40-fold higher data rate.
Scientists at 12 institutes in Germany are involved in constructing and operating the detector, developing evaluation algorithms, and analyzing the data.
Electrolytes play a key role in many areas: They are crucial for the storage of energy in our body as well as in batteries. In order to release energy, ions - charged atoms - must move in a liquid such as water. Until now the precise mechanism by which they move through the atoms and molecules of the electrolyte has, however, remained largely unknown. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research have now shown that the electrical resistance of an electrolyte, which is determined by the motion of ions, can be traced back to microscopic vibrations of these dissolved ions.
In chemistry, common table salt is also known as sodium chloride. If this salt is dissolved in water, sodium and chloride atoms dissolve as positively or...
Drops of water falling on or sliding over surfaces may leave behind traces of electrical charge, causing the drops to charge themselves. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz have now begun a detailed investigation into this phenomenon that accompanies us in every-day life. They developed a method to quantify the charge generation and additionally created a theoretical model to aid understanding. According to the scientists, the observed effect could be a source of generated power and an important building block for understanding frictional electricity.
Water drops sliding over non-conducting surfaces can be found everywhere in our lives: From the dripping of a coffee machine, to a rinse in the shower, to an...
90 million-year-old forest soil provides unexpected evidence for exceptionally warm climate near the South Pole in the Cretaceous
An international team of researchers led by geoscientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have now...
07.04.2020 | Event News
06.04.2020 | Event News
02.04.2020 | Event News
08.04.2020 | Physics and Astronomy
08.04.2020 | Information Technology
08.04.2020 | Medical Engineering