Analysis of the potential for spatial redistribution of freight using mathematical programming

Francis M. Vanek

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    4 Citations (Scopus)


    In recent years, research has identified the spatial spreading of freight distribution patterns as one of the largest drivers of the rapid growth in freight transport ton-miles, and of related growth in overall energy use and other forms of environmental impact. In this paper, prospects for long-term redistribution of freight flows are explored using origin-destination (OD) flow data from the 1993 US Commodity Flow Survey and a minimum-error technique for estimating disaggregate commodity flows. A prototype analysis of the pulp and paper sector was carried out. The analysis found that matching demand for paper products with geographically optimal production centers and producing an optimal mix of outputs in each center could lead to substantial reductions in total ton-miles (on the order of 17-38%) compared to the 1993 base case. A conceptual example of the implementation of the methodology and an analysis of potential energy savings from spatial redistribution are also presented.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)62-77
    Number of pages16
    JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2001


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