METRO.FREIGHT.2020 – Strategies for Strengthening Rail Infrastructure for Freight Transport in Urban Regions

In most European congested urban areas the rail tracks of the 19th and 20th century serving locations of industry and goods stations were removed, transformed for public passenger transport, closed down or used for other purposes. The main reasons might be the de-industrialisation of the inner cities and the centralisation of the supply-sector (wholesale markets, shopping centres). Simultaneously the urban areas got an excellent road network on the surface and an efficient public transport system in the underground or on dedicated tracks. Nevertheless the amount of goods delivered to urban areas increased due to material prosperity. In this context “METRO.FREIGHT.2020” analysed the possibilities of a reinforced utilisation of railway infrastructure for freight transport on the first and the last miles within the urban regions in Austria as exemplified in case studies for the metropolitan Region of Vienna, the agglomerations of Graz and Linz and for the urbanised Rhine-Valley in Vorarlberg. In this context the focus point of consideration was the interface of transport and urban development, and to a lesser extent the theoretical approach behind. As a fundamental milestone a cadastre of existing or recoverable sidings or other rail shipping points has been surveyed. They were evaluated in respect of serviceability concerning tracking freight trains in the rail network and extensibility in the service area which was complemented with propositions for further developing. The recommendations focus on measures intending technically and economically operable access points to rail net on one hand and potentially appropriate access points for the future. But, to reach this goal more strengthened integration of commercial location policy and of shippers’ transport demands with a coordinated land use planning and an infrastructure development policy is required. Finally, the methodical approach elaborated comprises the following components to push more rail freight shipping: Traffic zoning is a hierarchical spatial approach subdividing an urban region in sectors, zones and ‘agglomerates’ as spheres of activity for political and private actors involved in freight traffic generation and infrastructure affaires; Surveying a multimodal topology of infrastructure network which integrates all transport modes in its layout of freight infrastructure propped up on a public platform of a multimodal network graph in future; Characterizing an ‘agglomerate’ typology of shipping sites with affinity to rail which describes the typical initial position and development trends of the freight transport inducing traffic zones; and Shaping spatial structures which consist of super structures of shipping industrial sites as traffic generators, the infrastructure with its capacity for freight movements and the ‘metastructure’ as external affected settlements and land uses are prime targets and intervention objects, the coordinated measures have to be allocated to. The railway operators are called on to offer more flexible train and operation forms tailored to the logistics of shippers if the rail infrastructure within the serving area from the consolidation node to the sidings enables it. In the end three scenarios have been identified, namely a scenario of ultimate displacement of rail freight service in towns, a retarding scenario which brakes the retreat of rail connected with a change of paradigm in transport, and traffic planning leading into an offensive scenario of ‘clean freight mobility’ to revitalize and extend rail freight operations into areas of high consumption.


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  • Accession Number: 01607930
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 29 2016 8:33AM