Smart Transport Networks

Smart Transport Networks

Market Structure, Sustainability and Decision Making

NECTAR Series on Transportation and Communications Networks Research

Edited by Thomas Vanoutrive and Ann Verhetsel

Transport is debated by many, and liberalization processes, transport policy, transport and climate change and increased competition between transport modes are the subject of heated discussion. Smart Transport Networks illustrates that whether concerning road, water, rail or air, knowledge on the structure of transport markets is crucial in order to tackle transport issues. The book therefore explores key factors concerning the structure of transport markets, their environmental impact, and questions why decision makers often fail to tackle transport-related problems.

Chapter 1: Classifying transport studies using three dimensions of society: market structure, sustainability and decision making

Thomas Vanoutrive and Ann Verhetsel

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics, transport, urban and regional studies, transport


This introductory chapter is structured around a small content analysis of the chapters in this volume. In line with the title of this volume, three dimensions will be used to classify these texts, (i) market structure, (ii) sustainability and (iii) decision making. Market structure refers to the allocation mechanisms at work. (Environmental) sustainability covers the characteristics of the physical environment, the availability of natural resources and the effects of transport activities (for example, pollution).Lastly, decision making refers to transport policy, that is, the conscious attempts to change the transport system. Since the interactions between these three aspects are many, our classification tool does not subdivide the chapters into three categories, but positions the texts relative to the three aforementioned dimensions. Some readers will detect traces of the ‘triple bottom line’ People Planet Profit (People Planet Prosperity; P3) or similar sustainable development slogans. However, we shall argue that the three concepts are deliberately chosen and that our triptych does not necessarily reflect what is understood under P3. A first thing to note is that the three dimensions of transport are qualitatively different.

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