Special Issue "Sustainable Freight Transport"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Transportation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2018).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Lóri Tavasszy
Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, Delft University of Technology, Jaffalaan 5, 2628 BX Delft, The Netherlands
Interests: freight transport systems; city logistics; global logistic networks
Dr. M. Piecyk
Website
Guest Editor
University of Westminster, London W1B 2HW, UK
Interests: environmental performance and sustainability of freight transport operations

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are calling for papers for a Special Issue of the journal Sustainability on research into collective interventions to radically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from freight transport, in line with the political targets of COP21 to COP23. In order to meet these targets, by 2050, freight transport should have reduced its GHG emissions by 80–85%. This reduction represents a significant challenge with multiple technical, operational, and political aspects. Designing, testing, and implementation of effective interventions (managerial or technical) and appropriate policy measures need multi-disciplinary, multi-country research. Policy oriented papers may focus on the operationalization and evaluation of interventions, across a wider range of alternatives, and set within the larger system of stakeholders surrounding freight transport. Promising options are not limited to introducing new transport technologies, but can also include changes in framework conditions for transport, in terms of production and logistics processes. One can note that the prediction of impacts of new policies is far from trivial due to the inherent complexity of the system. Amongst other areas, this complexity resides in the interfaces between freight transportation, logistics and supply chain management. We welcome contributions discussing these relations. Thus far, much research has focused on long term policies such as modal shift in freight transport. The complications of these policies are now slowly being recognized. Predicted effects of pre-designed policies may not materialize due to various implementation issues, behavioral non-response or rebound mechanisms. Relatively new approaches from a sense-and-respond framing, such as standardized measurement and allocation, science-based targets and innovative carbon market designs may be a better way to help to steer the system towards achieving targets. Ultimately, proposed papers for this Special Issue may cover a broad range of private strategies and public interventions, as long as the focus is on GHG reduction. Papers should concern specific reduction measures or approaches to support these, including a clear discussion of the expected impact on global GHG emissions.

Prof. Dr. L.A. Tavasszy
Dr. M. Piecyk
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Freight transportation
  • Logistics
  • Supply chain management
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Carbon reduction
  • Climate change

Published Papers (15 papers)

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Open AccessEditorial
Sustainable Freight Transport
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3624; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103624 - 11 Oct 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Freight Transport) Printed Edition available
Open AccessReview
Sustainability Intervention Mechanisms for Managing Road Freight Transport Externalities: A Systematic Literature Review
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1923; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061923 - 08 Jun 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
With road freight transport continuing to dominate global freight transport operations, there is increasing pressure on the freight transport industry and its stakeholders to address concerns over its sustainability. This paper adopts a systematic review to examine the academic literature on road freight [...] Read more.
With road freight transport continuing to dominate global freight transport operations, there is increasing pressure on the freight transport industry and its stakeholders to address concerns over its sustainability. This paper adopts a systematic review to examine the academic literature on road freight transport sustainability between 2001 and 2018. Using content and thematic analysis, the paper identifies and categorises sustainability intervention mechanisms providing useful insights on key research applications areas and continental distribution of sustainable road freight transport (SRFT) research. In addition to the six-overarching sustainability intervention mechanism themes identified: decoupling, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), modality, operations, policy, and other, future research can explore the effectiveness of different interventions mechanisms identified in this study to improve sustainable practices across different continents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Freight Transport) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Safety Assessment Model for Dangerous Goods Transport by Air Carrier
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1306; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051306 - 24 Apr 2018
Cited by 9
Abstract
The safety of dangerous goods transport by air is directly related to human health and environmental pollution. This paper investigates a model to evaluate the safety performance of the transport of dangerous goods by air carriers. Based on a literature review, international regulations [...] Read more.
The safety of dangerous goods transport by air is directly related to human health and environmental pollution. This paper investigates a model to evaluate the safety performance of the transport of dangerous goods by air carriers. Based on a literature review, international regulations related to dangerous goods air transportation, and expert opinions, this paper identifies an assessment factor system with five drivers: organization/regulations, equipment/facilities, operations, emergency, and training. A hybrid evaluation method of a joint analytical hierarchy process and entropy weight is used to determine the importance of each factor and driver. The results suggest that the regulation of dangerous goods acceptance, sufficient equipment/facilities, and the condition of the equipment/facilities are the most important factors affecting the safety performance of dangerous goods transportation by air. An empirical study reveals that the proposed model is stable and reliable; thus, the model can guide resource allocation for air carriers to improve safety management of dangerous goods transportation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Freight Transport) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
The Concept of Urban Freight Transport Projects Durability and Its Assessment within the Framework of a Freight Quality Partnership
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2226; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072226 - 28 Jun 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
This article focuses on the role of Urban Freight Transport (UFT) projects in improving the life quality of city inhabitants. The main focus of the deliberations is the aspect of UFT projects’ durability. The authors take an original approach to the definition of [...] Read more.
This article focuses on the role of Urban Freight Transport (UFT) projects in improving the life quality of city inhabitants. The main focus of the deliberations is the aspect of UFT projects’ durability. The authors take an original approach to the definition of UFT project durability and also provide the results of a research study carried out in 2018. This made it possible to furnish an answer to the research questions that boiled down to the analysis of the current status of the relevant academic literature, to attempt to define the total durability of a UFT project, and to indicate the critical gaps in perception among the key stakeholders of the projects. In this study, particular attention is paid to the terminological synthesis and the conclusion resulting from adopting induction and deduction as the methods of solving research study problems. A novelty is the approach adopted in the project evaluation emphasising the mentioned durability aspect as one of the major success factors. This is particularly important for implementation of a Freight Quality Partnership as a solution enabling development of sustainable systems of urban logistics. The solution was treated as a specific implementation project for which the issue of key importance is the identification of success factors in the context of satisfying the needs of diverse groups of UFT stakeholders. It should be stressed that durability of projects in the area of UFT is critically important, even though there is a significant conceptual gap in that regard. The research study involved the originally developed concept of the Pyramid of Stakeholders Survey. By means of this concept, FQP durability was analysed on the example of the experience gained in the course of the solution functioning in Szczecin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Freight Transport) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Vehicle Weight, Modal Split, and Emissions—An Ex-Post Analysis for Sweden
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1731; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061731 - 25 May 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
This study combines official statistics on freight transportation and emissions to present the long-run development of the use of longer and heavier road vehicles (LHVs), modal split, road freight efficiency, and GHG emissions and air pollution following the increase in the maximum permissible [...] Read more.
This study combines official statistics on freight transportation and emissions to present the long-run development of the use of longer and heavier road vehicles (LHVs), modal split, road freight efficiency, and GHG emissions and air pollution following the increase in the maximum permissible vehicle weight in Sweden in 1990 and 1993. We find that LHVs were quickly incorporated in the vehicle fleet and that road freight efficiency of the largest vehicles increased after the reforms. There was no discernable break in modal split trends as the modal share for road continued its long-run development. We show that road transportation contributes by far the most to emission costs. The composition of the emissions from road freight changed after the weight reforms, with an increasing share of GHG-emissions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Freight Transport) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessConcept Paper
The Prism of Elasticity in Rebound Effect Modelling: An Insight from the Freight Transport Sector
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2874; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082874 - 13 Aug 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
If the rebound effect is to be considered a major obstacle to sustainable freight transport, then action and timely policy must be made in advance. This, however, requires a theoretical understanding of the nature of the rebound effect and an empirical grasp of [...] Read more.
If the rebound effect is to be considered a major obstacle to sustainable freight transport, then action and timely policy must be made in advance. This, however, requires a theoretical understanding of the nature of the rebound effect and an empirical grasp of its underlying mechanism. Elasticity is the centrepiece of current models on the rebound effect (or Jevons paradox). Although elasticity is a metric of indisputable usefulness for empirical purposes, it may be misleading when applied to the complex rebound effect. Drawing on the parallel case of the ‘distance puzzle’ in international economics, it will be shown how elasticity can be misinterpreted or how it can misdirect an investigation of the phenomenon by following a predetermined mindset. This particular bias is shown to widen in the long term and evolving systems in which the elasticity metric continues to output a constant number, eliciting a persistent effect. Drawing on previous research, an alternative approach to studying the rebound effect based on complex network theory and statistical mechanics of networks will be described. It will be shown how the interplay between spatial and non-spatial effects in freight transport networks can inform us about the evolution of the effect of distances on trade relationships, upon which a new metric for the rebound effect can be built. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Freight Transport) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Intra-National Freight Transport: Measurement and Scenarios for Greater Sustainability in Spain
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2467; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072467 - 13 Jul 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions is a topic of major concern worldwide. Following previous articles which provide a methodology for estimating GHG emissions associated with international trade by transport mode at the world level, in this paper, we estimate an equivalent database of GHG [...] Read more.
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions is a topic of major concern worldwide. Following previous articles which provide a methodology for estimating GHG emissions associated with international trade by transport mode at the world level, in this paper, we estimate an equivalent database of GHG emissions for inter-regional trade flows within a country (Spain). To this end, we built a new database of GHG emissions for origin–destination flows between Spanish provinces during 1995–2015. For each year, we combine industry-specific flows by four transport modes (road, train, ship and aircraft) with the corresponding GHG emissions factor for each mode in tons*km, drawn from the specialized literature. With this dataset of GHG emissions, we generate and analyze the temporal, sectoral and spatial pattern of Spanish inter-regional GHG flows. We then forecast emissions for 2016–2030 and consider how transport mode shifts might produce a more sustainable freight system within the country through the substitution of environmentally friendly alternatives (railway) for specific origin–destination–product flows in high-polluting modes (road). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Freight Transport) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Decarbonization Pathways for International Maritime Transport: A Model-Based Policy Impact Assessment
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2243; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072243 - 29 Jun 2018
Cited by 13
Abstract
International shipping has finally set a target to reduce its CO2 emission by at least 50% by 2050. Despite this positive progress, this target is still not sufficient to reach Paris Agreement goals since CO2 emissions from international shipping could reach [...] Read more.
International shipping has finally set a target to reduce its CO2 emission by at least 50% by 2050. Despite this positive progress, this target is still not sufficient to reach Paris Agreement goals since CO2 emissions from international shipping could reach 17% of global emissions by 2050 if no measures are taken. A key factor that hampers the achievement of Paris goals is the knowledge gap in terms of what level of decarbonization it is possible to achieve using all the available technologies. This paper examines the technical possibility of achieving the 1.5° goal of the Paris Agreement and the required supporting policy measures. We project the transport demand for 6 ship types (dry bulk, container, oil tanker, gas, wet product and chemical, and general cargo) based on the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD’s) global trade projection of 25 commodities. Subsequently, we test the impact of mitigation measures on CO2 emissions until 2035 using an international freight transport and emission model. We present four possible decarbonization pathways which combine all the technologies available today. We found that an 82–95% reduction in CO2 emissions could be possible by 2035. Finally, we examine the barriers and the relevant policy measures to advance the decarbonization of international maritime transport. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Freight Transport) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Energy Efficiency in Logistics: An Interactive Approach to Capacity Utilisation
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1727; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061727 - 25 May 2018
Cited by 10
Abstract
Logistics operations are energy-consuming and impact the environment negatively. Improving energy efficiency in logistics is crucial for environmental sustainability and can be achieved by increasing the utilisation of capacity. This paper takes an interactive approach to capacity utilisation, to contribute to sustainable freight [...] Read more.
Logistics operations are energy-consuming and impact the environment negatively. Improving energy efficiency in logistics is crucial for environmental sustainability and can be achieved by increasing the utilisation of capacity. This paper takes an interactive approach to capacity utilisation, to contribute to sustainable freight transport and logistics, by identifying its causes and mitigations. From literature, a conceptual framework was developed to highlight different system levels in the logistics system, in which the energy efficiency improvement potential can be found and that are summarised in the categories activities, actors, and areas. Through semi-structured interviews with representatives of nine companies, empirical data was collected to validate the framework of the causes of the unutilised capacity and proposed mitigations. The results suggest that activities, such as inflexibilities and limited information sharing as well as actors’ over-delivery of logistics services, incorrect price setting, and sales campaigns can cause unutilised capacity, and that problem areas include i.a. poor integration of reversed logistics and the last mile. The paper contributes by categorising causes of unutilised capacity and linking them to mitigations in a framework, providing a critical view towards fill rates, highlighting the need for a standardised approach to measure environmental impact that enables comparison between companies and underlining that costs are not an appropriate indicator for measuring environmental impact. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Freight Transport) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Possible Impact of Long and Heavy Vehicles in the United Kingdom—A Commodity Level Approach
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2754; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082754 - 04 Aug 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
The potential effects of implementing longer and heavier vehicles (LHVs) in road freight transport have been studied in various countries, nationally and internationally, in Europe. These studies have focused on the implementation of LHVs on certain types of commodities and the experience from [...] Read more.
The potential effects of implementing longer and heavier vehicles (LHVs) in road freight transport have been studied in various countries, nationally and internationally, in Europe. These studies have focused on the implementation of LHVs on certain types of commodities and the experience from countries like Finland and Sweden, which have a long tradition of using LHVs, and in which LHVs used for all types of commodities have not been widely utilised. This study aimed to assess the impacts of long and heavy vehicles on various commodities in the United Kingdom based on the Finnish experiences in order to estimate the possible savings in road freight transport vehicle kilometres, costs, and CO2 emissions in the United Kingdom if LHVs would be introduced and used similarly to in Finland in the transport of various commodities. The study shows that the savings of introducing longer and heavier vehicles in the United Kingdom would be 1.5–2.6 billion vehicle kms, £0.7–1.5 billion in transport costs, and 0.35–0.72 Mt in CO2 emissions. These findings are well in line with previous findings in other countries. The results confirm that considerable savings in traffic volume and emissions can be achieved and the savings are very likely to outweigh possible effects of modal shift from rail to road. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Freight Transport) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Electric Road Systems: Strategic Stepping Stone on the Way towards Sustainable Freight Transport?
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1148; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041148 - 11 Apr 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
Electrification of the transport sector has been pointed out as a key factor for tackling some of today’s main challenges, such as global warming, air pollution, and eco-system degradation. While numerous studies have investigated the potential of electrifying passenger transport, less focus has [...] Read more.
Electrification of the transport sector has been pointed out as a key factor for tackling some of today’s main challenges, such as global warming, air pollution, and eco-system degradation. While numerous studies have investigated the potential of electrifying passenger transport, less focus has been on how road freight transport could be powered in a sustainable future. This study looks at Electric Road Systems (ERS) in comparison to the current diesel system. The Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development was used to assess whether ERS could be a stepping stone on the way towards sustainability. Strategic life-cycle assessment was applied, scanning each life-cycle phase for violations against basic sustainability principles. Resulting sustainability “hot spots” were quantified with traditional life-cycle assessment. The results show that, if powered by renewable energy, ERS have a potential to decrease the environmental impact of freight transport considerably. Environmental payback times of less than five years are achievable if freight traffic volumes are sufficiently high. However, some severe violations against sustainability principles were identified. Still, ERS could prove to be a valuable part of the solution, as they drastically decrease the need for large batteries with high cost and sustainability impact, thereby catalyzing electrification and the transition towards sustainable freight transport. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Freight Transport) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Applying a Mesoscopic Transport Model to Analyse the Effects of Urban Freight Regulatory Measures on Transport Emissions—An Assessment
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2515; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072515 - 18 Jul 2018
Cited by 8
Abstract
Sustainable urban freight management is a growing challenge for local authorities due to social pressures and increasingly more stringent environmental protection requirements. Freight and its adverse impacts, which include emissions and noise, considerably influence the urban environment. This calls for a reliable assessment [...] Read more.
Sustainable urban freight management is a growing challenge for local authorities due to social pressures and increasingly more stringent environmental protection requirements. Freight and its adverse impacts, which include emissions and noise, considerably influence the urban environment. This calls for a reliable assessment of what can be done to improve urban freight and meet stakeholders’ requirements. While changes in a transport system can be simulated using models, urban freight models are quite rare compared to the tools available for analysing private and public transport. Therefore, this article looks at ways to extend Gdynia’s existing mesoscopic transport model by adding data from delivery surveys and examines the city’s capacity for reducing CO2 emissions through the designation of dedicated delivery places. The results suggest that extending the existing model by including freight-specific data can be justified when basic regulatory measures are to be used to improve freight transport. There are, however, serious limitations when an exact representation of the urban supply chain structure is needed, an element which is required for modelling advanced measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Freight Transport) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Decarbonisation of Urban Freight Transport Using Electric Vehicles and Opportunity Charging
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3258; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093258 - 12 Sep 2018
Cited by 10
Abstract
The high costs of using electric vehicles (EVs) is hindering wide-spread adoption of an EV-centric decarbonisation strategy for urban freight transport. Four opportunity charging (OC) strategies—during breaks and shift changes, during loading activity, during unloading activity, or while driving on highways—are evaluated towards [...] Read more.
The high costs of using electric vehicles (EVs) is hindering wide-spread adoption of an EV-centric decarbonisation strategy for urban freight transport. Four opportunity charging (OC) strategies—during breaks and shift changes, during loading activity, during unloading activity, or while driving on highways—are evaluated towards reducing EV costs. The study investigates the effect of OC on the lifecycle costs and carbon dioxide emissions of four cases of different urban freight transport operations. Using a parametric vehicle model, the weight and battery capacity of operationally suitable fleets were calculated for ten scenarios (i.e., one diesel vehicle scenario, two EV scenarios without OC, and seven EV scenarios with four OC strategies and two charging technology types). A linearized energy consumption model sensitive to vehicle load was used to calculate the fuel and energy used by fleets for the transport operations. OC was found to significantly reduce lifecycle costs, and without any strong negative influence on carbon dioxide emissions. Other strong influences on lifecycle costs are the use of inductive technology, extension of service lifetime, and reduction of battery price. Other strong influences on carbon dioxide emissions are the use of inductive technology and the emissions factors of electricity production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Freight Transport) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Issues Concerning Declared Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of FAME Biofuels
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3025; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093025 - 25 Aug 2018
Cited by 17
Abstract
The paper deals with the issue of greenhouse gas emissions that are produced by the road freight transport sector. These emissions affect the structure of the ozone layer and contribute to the greenhouse effect that causes global warming-issues that are closely associated with [...] Read more.
The paper deals with the issue of greenhouse gas emissions that are produced by the road freight transport sector. These emissions affect the structure of the ozone layer and contribute to the greenhouse effect that causes global warming-issues that are closely associated with changing weather patterns and extreme weather events. Attention is drawn to the contradictions linked to FAME (Fatty Acid Methyl Esters) biofuels, namely the fact that although their use generates almost zero greenhouse gas emissions, their production requires high levels of energy consumption. The first part of the paper deals with the theoretical basis of the negative impacts of transport on the environment and the subsequent measurement of the extent of the harmful emissions generated by the road freight transport sector. In the methodical part of the paper, the calculation procedures and declared energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions generated by transport services are analyzed according to the EN 16258 standard. The experimental part of the paper focuses on the application of the methodology to a specific shipment on a specified transport route, where the total energy consumption and production of greenhouse gas emissions is determined. These calculations are based on comprehensive studies carried out for a particular transport company that assigned the authors the task of determining to what extent the declared energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions change when the type of fuel used is changed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Freight Transport) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Timber Transport—Economic Aspects of Aerodynamic Reconfiguration
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1965; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061965 - 12 Jun 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
There is a need to reduce fuel consumption, and thereby reduce CO2-emissions in all parts of the transport sector. It is also well known that aerodynamic resistance affects the fuel consumption in a major way. By improving the aerodynamics of the [...] Read more.
There is a need to reduce fuel consumption, and thereby reduce CO2-emissions in all parts of the transport sector. It is also well known that aerodynamic resistance affects the fuel consumption in a major way. By improving the aerodynamics of the vehicles, the fuel consumption will also decrease. A special type of transportation is that of timber, which is performed by specialized trucks with few alternative uses. This paper follows up on earlier papers concerning Swedish timber trucks where aerodynamic improvements for timber trucks were tested. By mapping the entire fleet of timber trucks in Sweden and investigating reduced fuel consumption of 2–10%, financial calculations were performed on how these improvements would affect the transport costs. Certain parameters are investigated, such as investment cost, extra changeover time and weight of installments. By combining these results with the mapping of the fleet, it can be seen under which circumstances these improvements would be sustainable. The results show that it is possible through aerodynamics to lower the transportation costs and make an investment plausible, with changeover time being the most important parameter. They also show that certain criteria for a reduced transportation cost already exist within the vehicle fleet today. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Freight Transport) Printed Edition available
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