Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rail, Road Or Waterway?

Date:
September 10, 2008
Source:
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Is road transport the best way to send oranges from Spain to northern Germany? Or would it be better to ship them by rail or waterway for part of the route? A new software package determines the cheapest, fastest or most environmentally compatible mode of transportation.

Is road transport the best way to send oranges from Spain to northern Germany? Or would it be better to ship them by rail or waterway for part of the route? A new software package determines the cheapest, fastest or most environmentally compatible mode of transportation.

Prime Argentine steak accompanied by a good French wine, with strawberries from Spain as dessert. And mood music playing on a stereo system made in Japan. Most national and international freight is transported by road, because it is the least expensive option. But this is likely to change soon, due to road tolls and the rising cost of fuel. Even when it’s a question of making sure that the merchandise is delivered precisely on time, trucks are not always the most reliable solution. It can often take a long time to clear goods through the container terminals, and tailbacks on the motorways can cause additional delays.

So what is the optimum strategy for transporting goods over a particular route? Where could costs be saved by using inland waterways, and at what point would it be best to transship to a road or rail vehicle? What is the cheapest, fastest, or most environmentally compatible overall solution? Answers can be provided by a new software package developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML in Dortmund.

“The user enters the locations between which the goods are to be transported, as you would when using a route planner,” says IML team leader Joachim Kochsiek. “The system calculates different variants to find the optimum solution that fits the specified criterion: costs, time or, in a future version, least environmental burden. It even factors in the time and costs for transshipment.”

Digital maps of road, rail and inland waterway networks can be purchased off the shelf, but the information they provide is not sufficiently detailed for the new software.

“There are different categories of train, and different pricing systems for different rail connections – we can’t apply a standard price per kilometer. We need to know what rules apply to the speed, width and height of trains, how many wagons are permitted on a particular section of railroad, and the maximum speed limit. Whereas this kind of information is included in road maps, it has to be compiled manually for the rail networks,” Kochsiek explains.

For each mode of transportation, the system adapts its calculation of costs and fuel consumption to the degree of capacity utilization. For example, the lower the number of wagons pulled by a locomotive, the higher the costs. A prototype version of the software for optimizing time and costs is already available. The researchers are now working on the algorithms for calculating the environmental burden. A later version with online access will enable modified shipping timetables, for instance, to be instantly included in the calculations.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Rail, Road Or Waterway?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080908135908.htm>.
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. (2008, September 10). Rail, Road Or Waterway?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080908135908.htm
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Rail, Road Or Waterway?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080908135908.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The New York Times has officially endorsed the legalization of marijuana, but why now, and to what end? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Congress OKs Unlocking Phones From Carriers

Congress OKs Unlocking Phones From Carriers

Newsy (July 26, 2014) A bill legalizing "unlocking," or untethering a phone from its default wireless carrier, has passed Congress and is expected to be signed into law. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Wikipedia Puts Congress in Time Out, Blocks Editing

Wikipedia Puts Congress in Time Out, Blocks Editing

Newsy (July 26, 2014) An IP address within the House of Representatives was banned from editing Wikipedia articles for 10 days after it made some questionable changes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins