Road Freight Transportation and Its Contribution to Congestion in City Regions Suggestions and Possibilities for Improvement

Road Freight Transportation and Its Contribution to Congestion in City Regions Suggestions and Possibilities for Improvement


G Aschauer, L Höfler, F Starkl University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, AT; R Keber, RISC, AT


This research project focuses on the contribution of truck transportation to congestion and develops a methodology to remove trucks from rush hour periods through a cooperative approach amongst road operators and industry.



During the last decades the European transport industry faces several far reaching challenges. Bottlenecks in the road systems, environmental impacts and budgetary restrictions and the politi-cal goal of modal-shift to environmental more friendly modes are corridors for all actors in the industry. Under these circumstances is the change to a more sustainable transport organization an important question for the future of the industrialized countries in Europe.

On the one hand, the transportation sector is besides the energy sector one of the most respon-sible sectors for emissions, especially for emissions of carbon dioxide. Road freight transportation dominates the modal split measured in tonne kilometers and is in the EU-27 in charge of a great part of CO2 emissions; the share of the transport sector is further increasing. On the other hand road infrastructure cannot be extended to the dimension of truck transportation growth and so leads to capacity limits on road infrastructure. Congestion and bottlenecks are the results of this development. Congestion does not only mean an inefficient usage of existing infrastructures; because of a broken down traffic flow, the emission of harmful substances, energy consumption and the production of CO2 compared with an undisturbed traffic flow is significantly higher. Due to this relationship, organizational measures to reduce congestion and bottlenecks resulting from overloaded infrastructure have to be taken for the contribution to sustainable freight transportation.

Currently, road infrastructure, particularly in urban areas, reaches its capacity limits during the rush hour periods and the consequence is severe congestion and bottlenecks. As road capacity cannot be extended to match projected traffic growth, innovative organizational solutions need to be developed. The research project provides a methodology to remove truck traffic from the rush hour periods through a co-operative approach amongst road operators and the industry. Traffic simulation is used to reschedule trucks, which can save time and costs and also reduce emissions. Road capacity is used more efficiently and capital expenditure for road construction can be avoided or at least postponed. Furthermore, the elimination or at least reduction of congestion and bottlenecks lead to competitive advantages for industry, business parks, and the entire urban area and also benefits the environment.


By finding out the contribution of trucks at specific bottlenecks, the theoretical impacts can be simulated. Through connecting settled industry with their planned in- and outbound flows and road infrastructure operators with their general traffic data, freight traffic can be shifted away from bottleneck periods.

The main steps (experimental area is Austria) in this research work are (1) analyzing road infra-structure to find out about daily bottlenecks; (2) calculation and simulation of the theoretical con-tribution of trucks in the specific bottleneck; (3) survey of the responsible industry settled in the specific region; (4) development of a computer model to connect and harmonize planned in- and outbound flow data with traffic forecast and historical data; (4) development of an algorithm to simulate and calculate emission and cost savings (5) work out of suggestions for public policy makers.

The key results and benefits of the research work are:

Possibility to influence freight volume at rush hour periods because of knowledge of their contribution

Because of undisturbed traffic flow less energy consumption and a significant reduction of emission of harmful substances

Industry (loaders) have on time delivery if they adapt their logistics concepts

Shorter driving times, better calculation and reduction of costs in transportation

Better general traffic flow

Road infrastructure operators have less pressure to expand road infrastructure


Association for European Transport