Transport and Environment

Transport and Environment

In Search of Sustainable Solutions

Transport Economics, Management and Policy series

Edited by Eran Feitelson and Erik Verhoef

The impact of transport on the environment is a major issue of worldwide concern. This important new book presents state-of-the-art contributions on spatial and technological aspects of transport in relation to environmental degradation, together with analysis of sustainable transport policy.

Chapter 7: Technolgical innovations in transport: an implementation strategy for underground freight transport

Johan G.S.N. Visser and Harry Geerlings

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, transport, environment, environmental economics, transport, urban and regional studies, transport


Feitelson Part 2 13/8/01 8:53 am Page 136 7. Technological innovations in transport: an implementation strategy for underground freight transport Johan G.S.N. Visser and Harry Geerlings INTRODUCTION Since the beginning of the 1990s there has been a renewed interest in the Netherlands in underground transport of freight. Underground transport is expected to be a sustainable way of freight transport within urban areas. The results of recent studies in the Netherlands look promising. There is, however, no clear view on the policy aspects of this technology, especially for the longer term. Important policy questions are: • How can underground freight transport develop into a sustainable transport mode for freight transport? • What is the role of the government in the implementation of underground freight transport? These questions have not yet been answered. The concept of a ‘window of technological opportunity’, described by Geerlings (1997), is a tool that is helpful in defining public policies for so-called ‘mega-technological’ innovations. In this chapter, the window of technological opportunity will be used as a policy evaluation framework. We consider this activity to be a starting point for the development of a public policy on underground freight transport. The content of the chapter is as follows: • Transport, the environment and technology The relationship between environmental problems and transport, and the shift in interest towards the ‘technological option’ is discussed. • Underground freight transport: a promising technology? The main characteristics of this new technology and the state of the art are defined. • The ‘window of technological opportunity’ for...

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