One of the most important issues concerning the future planning and utilization of transport infrastructure especially for the transport of goods via rail and road is the exploitation of capacities and the one of detecting unused capacity reserves. Consequently, there are possibilities for transfers, which depend on the type of goods and the start-destination-relation. So far, this issue was considered rather qualitatively due to the low level of data availability and a lack of detailed planning tools.
Central to the project “Analysis and Assessment of Road/Rail Infrastructure Networks Cross Transport Providers Using Simulation Based on Planned and/or Real Load Factors” (VABISS) was the deduction of universally valid approaches for the analysis, planning and evaluation of infrastructure networks (rail/road) via a connection of planning processes for different transport modes.
Experienced logistic companies provided the project details about volume and structure of the flow of goods to be potentially shifted from road to rail. The special nature of this project is the detailed simulation of the flow of traffic, the traffic loads as well as the traffic and operational processes for the two transport modes rail and road. Both the overall rail and highway network of North Rhine-Westphalia are available with real-time data for simulation purposes of a potential shift from road to rail. The analyses and examinations provide hints towards the changes in traffic that are to be expected as well as precise proposals for the precise extension of the transport infrastructure. The example of the corridor between Duisburg and Unna illustrates this in this project.
This project strongly contributed to utilizing microscopic simulation models in the areas road and rail especially in long-term infrastructure planning. Consequently, it is possible, to further develop infrastructure networks of both transport modes based on the measured traffic loads. Thereby, the increasing share of ad-hoc procedures, which were available during this project, is taken into account concerning the rail transport. With the simultaneous examination of road and rail infrastructure leads to new possibilities for economically optimizing the extension of road and rail infrastructure. The example of the corridor between Duisburg and Unna led to different results about the shift of the transport of goods from road to rail based on simulation computations. Despite the fact that this corridor is nearly operating at full capacity, shits of the transport mode are without further infrastructure investments possible. However, detours and higher operational costs are the consequence. The advantage, though, is a lower load of the highways that are generally probable to run the risk of traffic jams because of truck traffic. The overall assessment procedure arrived at during this project illustrates in a detailed fashion the time advantages and disadvantages of such traffic mode shifts for current but also for future traffic situations and provides basic data for the determination of cost advantages and disadvantages. The shift from road to rail that is even realizable today, if slight time and cost advantages are accepted could potentially be possible in the future only with a infrastructure extension that is adapted to the overall traffic situation. The developed combined overall assessment procedure during this project serves as a guideline for future planning tasks of the federal and state bodies.
Findings of the study are published in detail by a final report (German only) which is available online via