Development of Small-Scale Intermodal Freight Transportation in a Systems Context
Doktorsavhandling, 1998

An intermodal freight transportation system is characterised by the subsequent use of different transportation modes for moving goods stowed into unit loads from the consignor to the consignee. Typically, it involves a wide variety of activities, actors and resources, which implies a certain degree of technological as well as organisational complexity. Other distinctive features are dependency on surrounding systems and a general lack of formal systems management as well as of objectives shared among all actors. This dissertation focuses the need for a renewal of the European intermodal transportation system that has not yet been able to fulfil the high expe ctations from society. Most of the commercial problems are directly or indirectly related to the complexity of the system and the scale in which the services are produced in. The solution foreseen and advocated in this dissertation is to divide the operations between the layers direct shuttle trains, corridor trains and locally adapted small-scale network modules, of which the latter layer is especially treated. Special attention is paid to the issue of connecting the layers as well as the different network modules. An outspoken systems approach is applied and a framework model is chiselled out from theories on general systems, transportation systems as well as on intermodal transportation systems. The object of study is successively narrowed, focusing technical matters and small-scale operations on lower system levels. The complexity and lack of systems management implies that implementing new technical resources involves distinctive barriers that are described and classified. Approaches for reducing the effects of barriers include to conform to standards, to create closed systems and to implement new resources gradually. Another issue addressed is the suitability of transshipment technologies for different network operation principles and national preconditions. Small-scale transshipment technologies - all of which are described in a detached appendix - are evaluated against an outlined list of requirements. The argumentation is finally applied to the intermodal freight system that received the highest score in the evaluation - Swedish State Railways' Light-combi project.

transport chain

conceptual modelling


transshipment technology

transportation system

intermodal freight transportation

gateway terminal

combined transport

yransport network

technology implementation


Johan Woxenius

Institutionen för transportteknik



Produktionsteknik, arbetsvetenskap och ergonomi



Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 1384

Rapport - Chalmers tekniska högskola, Institutionen för transportteknik: 34