Measuring Level-of-Service in Freight Transportation

Measuring Level-of-Service in Freight Transportation


Albert Mancera, IVT ETH Zurich, Ulrich Weidmann, IVT ETH Zurixh


This paper presents the development of a quality scale named Level-of-Service for freight transportation.


Measuring Level-of-Service in freight transportation
Albert Mancera, Ulrich Weidmann,
IVT ETH Zürich

Freight transportation has been continuously growing since the disruption of containerization. The implications of this growth on national and international freight networks are evident. Congestion and bottle necks lead to planning of new lines and terminals in times of budget restriction. Simultaneously, the EU aims to gain competitiveness within the European freight networks in order to ensure a long-term strategical position on the international market. Unfortunately, up to date there are no standards regarding quality-of-service on freight transportation that provide infrastructure planners, freight operators and shippers with clear descriptions for freight performance. On the meanwhile, quality scales as the Level-of-Service are used in several transport systems such as private mobility, public transportation, bicycle and pedestrian mobility.

This paper presents the development of a quality scale named Level-of-Service for freight transportation. The metric has been developed using shipper inputs on their service preferences and it uses transparent indicators that enable evaluation of freight corridors and networks. It also enables transport mode performance benchmarking through an intermodal quality scale of objective criteria. Method validation is illustrated with real test cases on the Swiss freight network (road and rail). Major contributions of the paper are: a better understanding of the quality-of-service concept for freight transportation; a unified qualification method for unimodal and intermodal systems. Potential real-life applications for the Level-of-Service for freight transportation are diverse. For instance, supporting freight planners when designing lines, terminals or services; improving freight operator’s performance; advising shippers when selecting service providers.


Association for European Transport