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Concept of indicators for evaluating transport chains that involve several traffic carriers, using the supply of food staples in Europe

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Geo-spatial type
Project Acronym
Friendly Supply Chains
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Transport mode
Multimodal icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues
Transport sectors
Freight transport



Drawing on the findings and developing the recommendations of the Logistik-Austria-Plus project “Milky Way” and the ISB basic research project “Freight on Rail Austria”, a concept of indicators will be developed to evaluate transport chains along the lines of goods categories of the international NST/R nomenclature for perishable foodstuffs. With “performance” initially meaning the economic competitiveness of transport processes in the microeconomic analysis, the purpose is to put this term in a wider evaluation policy context in response to the discussion on climate protection and environmental problems arising from the road transport of goods. To this end, it is necessary to give concrete meaning to the concept of “performance” in terms of the claims of players within the transport and value-adding chains, and secondly, to bolster it with “metaeconomic” indices and targets regarding, i.e., environmental and climate compatibility, energy efficiency, transport infrastructure utilisation rates, the framework for modal split changes, or transport products and technology cycles. The object of the exercise is to deepen the foundations of traffic planning and facilitate argumentative lines in the transport policy decision-making process face-to-face with stakeholders.


Considering the stringent requirements to be met by logistic processes and transport chains involved, we chose the NST/R groups 12 and 14 (including dairy produce, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages) as objects for developing a concept of systematic indicators. The goods concerned are successful exports of high brand value and have a wide market reach, and at the same time are popular imports among Austrian consumers. Accordingly, there is a briskly growing international exchange with a spreading sales market, which in turn results in large-scale transit traffic.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT)
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)
Funding Source
Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT)


The following abstract describes the structure and the key findings of each chapter of the study:

Commissioned by the Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft (FFG) within the scope of the Research Strategy Program Smart Transport Systems and Services (iV2s plus) of the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT), the research project “Concept of indicators for evaluating transport chains that involve several traffic carriers, using the supply of food staples in Europe” (in short: Friendly Supply Chains) was carried out by a consortium led by the Vienna University of Technology, Centre of Transport System Planning, and partners at the University for Agriculture and Life Sciences, Department of Marketing and Innovation, and the planning consultants arp-planning. consulting.research. The research project develops an evaluation concept for transport systems, using value-added chains for perishable foodstuffs and comprising micro-, macro- and meta-economic (ecological) indicators. The concept aims to strengthen the groundwork for traffic planning and enhance arguments in the transport policy decision-making process face-to-face with stakeholders.

The research project starts out with an analysis of the goods markets for selected NST/R goods categories, thereby providing an overview of recent developments in the volume flows regarding the procurement of raw materials, intermediate products or containers as well as the sale of finished products along the supply chain of wineries, breweries, juice and dairy producers. Using this perspective, the development and sector-typical characteristics of goods transports are described, with special emphasis on source regions of the raw materials, marketing structures and characteristic features of the sales markets. After all, Austrian producers in these industries meet with brisk international competition which they must withstand, the same as in their home market.

The studies of goods transports are supplemented by an analysis of the official data record that comprises goods transport at the places of loading for traffic carriers broken down by goods categories and assesses the lanes in Austria’s internal and border-crossing transport network. However, the strict data protection regime severely limits efforts to process such data continuously obtained from lorry operations. Breakdowns by product categories, shipping and receiving regions or transport means used are difficult to come by. Historical developments have produced variations in the methods of obtaining and assessing data and the features surveyed for each traffic carrier, which aggravates any comparison of statistical data for goods transport across traffic carriers. Considerable efforts are put into achieving international harmonisation, e.g. by developing systems of goods categories or polling methods. It would also be useful to provide coherent data for goods traffic flows and traffic surveys such as road traffic surveys.

The study looks into the framework for traffic policies which regulates the equipment and use of goods transport vehicles, especially with regard to permissible weights, dimensions and pollutant classes. The conditions for using transport systems are of particular relevance when it comes to express and regular goods transport. They include the tolls payable especially for distance transport, but also an abundance of restrictions on lorry transport, which may be of an (inter)national, regional, sectoral, temporary or local type, as well as numerous exceptions applicable to food transport or the source and destination traffic. The paper provides a critical survey of these, drawing on information from business associations.

The study then links the research made by the project team among shipping producers, associations and haulers to the practical impact of regulatory interventions and the specific conditions of use for the transport networks resulting in location types of the four sectors. These case studies are embedded in the concept of three settings: the logistic setting of the shipping businesses, the infrastructure setting of the shipping regions and the transport setting of the goods transport providers. The logistic setting of a sector is shaped by the locational conditions of production, the volatility of the goods markets and the variability of the source and sales regions. These are linked to goods-specific transport requirements and sector-typical traffic lanes. Such transport demand meets up with opportunities offered by the traffic infrastructure to businesses across all network hierarchies. The advantages and disadvantages of the traffic carrier system have a major impact on the locational development strategies pursued by businesses. The range of offers provided by the goods transport operations balances the customers’ logistic requirements against the capacities available from the transport means offered by the operators and routes available in the network. This is reflected in a complex cost structure of the available traffic carrier.

Liberalisation in goods transport and ongoing integration in the EU’s single market have made for increasing diversity in transport providers. Nevertheless, railways have so far been relegated to an outsider’s role because their conditions of operation make them suitable only for overnight transport and intermodal overseas transport with long stretches on the rail. Quite frequently, the limiting element is the very last mile – the capacity of the siding. The strengths and weaknesses of the traffic carriers and their operators are described based on typical transport chains for the four sectors. In this manner, the study elucidates the motivations behind the choice of transport means by the shippers and indicates the limits of options for changing between traffic carriers. The assessment of the environmental quality of goods transport with regard to energy consumption and emission rates has so far been limited to a highly generalised computation base, as is shown in the supply chain for beer and juice.

This finding provides a transition to Chapter 6 (long version, result version as Chapter 5) which develops the basics of an indicator system spanning traffic carriers. To achieve this, it is necessary to analyse existing data sources in terms of issues (such as is occasionally done for traffic in transit corridors), and foremost, to establish an appropriate reference to the traffic networks.

Chapter 7 (long version only) is a resume of the sector-related analysis and methods developed for an extended concept of performance indicators for environmental aspects and infrastructure networks which aims to achieve an improved basis for opinion-forming and decision-making, so that goods transport can in actual practice be gradually approximated to the transport policy vision of friendly supply chains.

Findings of the study are published in a final report (German only) which is available online via the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT) at:


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EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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