Backcasting for modal shift - Significance of local perspectives on intermodal transport for sustainable freight transport strategies
Paper i proceeding, 2009

Purpose of this paper: To identify the requirements of a competitive and sustainable intermodal transport system, taking all stakeholders into account, and to outline elements of a holistic strategy toward modal shift. Design/methodology/approach: This article follows the backcasting approach and takes the form of desk research and conceptual work complemented by workshops within the FastRCargo project. Findings: If the policy goal of modal shift is to be achieved, intermodal transport needs to go beyond the current approach of a concentrated network of large-scale terminals. The implementation of a dense network of small-scale terminals can contribute to both global and local sustainability as well as to the competitiveness of regions. Local authorities can play a key role in resolving long-term implementation barriers by facilitating the formation of regional actor networks. Research limitations/implications: This paper is a conceptual study from a transport systems perspective and is based on a literature review on previous research. A case study on implementing a small-scale terminal could reveal implementation barriers and drivers from an actor’s perspective and provide further insights for the development of strategies toward modal shift. Practical implications: Intermodal freight transport has a significant local dimension. Local authorities therefore need better freight transport planning capabilities and logistics competence. What is original/value of paper: The paper follows a backcasting approach and therefore goes beyond solutions that are considered “realistic” today. In this way, the paper identifies “new” elements for a long-term strategy toward modal shift.

Intermodal transport

urban freight transport

rail transport

sustainable development


freight transport planning


Sönke Behrends

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Logistik och transport

NOFOMA, Jun 10-12 2009, Jönköping, Sweden


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