- New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Aura Reggiani and Peter Nijkamp
Chapter 8: A Decade of Freight Transport Modelling with Virtual Networks: Acquired Experiences and New Challenges
Bart Jourquin and Michel Beuthe 8.1 INTRODUCTION Until a few years ago, transport models were essentially focused on passenger flows. More recently, some freight specific network models have been developed, but their output still targets mainly transport flows on the networks, even though some of them to some extent deal with the different operations performed at the nodes, that is, loading/unloading, trans-shipment or simple transit. As a result of a trend towards economic globalization, just-in-time deliveries and road transport expansion, a great deal of attention is paid nowadays to the reorganization of networks, intermodal transport and new technical bundling concepts, in order to substitute direct road transport with alternative transport solutions which have less-negative external effects. Thus, there is a need for a better modelling of the functions assumed by nodes, that is, terminals and trans-shipment platforms. NODUS, which was developed at the ‘Group Transport & Mobility’ (GTM) of the Catholic University of Mons (FUCAM, Belgium), aims at meeting that need: it is a GIS (Geographic Information System)-based software designed for analysing multimodal, multi-means and inter-modal freight transport with all their interface operations. It is available on a large range of computer platforms and is completely open and flexible: external modules, especially developed to solve particular problems, can easily be plugged into the main software. Moreover, it implements a detailed analytical structure that allows an easy set-up of all kinds of parameters. NODUS can be used for many different analytical tasks and for optimizing various objective functions, but, until now,...
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