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Alan McKinnon

After decades of relative neglect, the movement of freight is now attracting much more attention from researchers. Recognition that freight transport is an integral part of logistics systems brought a new managerial perspective and focused attention on the inter-relationship between transport and business processes. Its profile in government circles has also risen, creating new demands for policy-relevant research on a range of topics. This chapter reviews some of these topics under three broad headings. The first relates to the growth of freight traffic at national and global levels and a series of disruptive forces that are proving difficult to incorporate into existing forecasting models. The second concerns the environmental and social sustainability of freight transport operations, while the third focuses on so-called last-mile deliveries that could potentially be transformed by a series of technological and business innovations. Across these three subject areas, numerous research questions require urgent answers.