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Predicting the Impacts of e-Economy on Transport

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Smart mobility and services (SMO)
Transport mode
Multimodal icon
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

The e-Economy is characterised by the ability to transmit and receive information, without regard to distance, at a relatively low cost. Developments in the e-Economy have the potential to affect the supply and demand for transport in multiple ways. Telecommunication technologies may impact the demand for physical transportation and offer improvements in the efficiency and safety of transport systems, leading to better environments through reduced travel, pollution and potentially savings in time and material resources. In this context transport substitution is the replacement of a journey by alternative types of communication and IT (ICTs).


Develop a conceptual model that includes:

  • physical elements of the transport system and the
  • behavioural aspects of transport and travel choices made by various
  • analyse how developments in the e-Economy can change
    decision making behaviour (relevant for transport)
  • estimate the potential impact of behavioural change(s) on
    mode choice
  • estimate the potential impact(s) of changes in choice
    behaviour on urban transport & traffic flows.

Identifying and uderstanding the key decision points and issues affecting mode choice and studying how these will change in response to developments in the e-Economy. This support is provided by a transparent and coherent framwork for quantitatively estimating the size and impacts of developments in the e-Economy on modal share of different transport modes.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN)
Type of funding
Public (EU)


The Virtual Case studies for the Passenger Travel Sector, addressed the impact of the application of information technology tools, intelligent transportation systems, advanced telecommunication programs,etc. that might be adopted and implemented on the travellers' choices in the future. Specifically, three virtual case studies have been developed for passengers:

  • business-related travel in an ICT-rich environment
  • shopping-related travel in an ICT-rich environment
  • re-location and teleworking in an ICT-rich environment

Further research involves the analysis of actual case studies offering a way to learn about how the various actors. An innovative characteristic of POET is the development of virtual case studies to gather information about the possible responses of actors to future situations, situations that do not yet exist. The virtual case studies build on and go beyond what is done in stated preference surveys by not just asking questions about hypothetical choices, but actually placing respondents in realistic virtual settings in order to make their choices, using Information Acceleration simulators. Finally, POET will model the impact of the e-Economy on transport (mode share, temporal distribution of trips, energy use and other environmental impacts) and the resulting impacts energy use, emissions, social exclusions, and the competitiveness of five European cities and regions.

Policy implications

The e-Economy has been the subject of considerable attention, still not much is known about its impacts on passenger and freight transport. Furthermore, the path along which the e-Economy will develop in the future is also uncertain. In POET we develop a conceptual model integrating the physical elements of the transport system with behavioural aspects of transport and travel choices made by various actors (firms and businesses, households and individuals, and governments) Transport demand is growing almost in lockstep with economic growth. The volume of freight transport is increasing not just because of rising demand, but also because of supply side factors, such as the availability and quality of infrastructure, transport means and the user costs of and legislative conditions to utilisation of these means (CE, 1999).

The above trends result in several developments at the meso level, for example:

  1. Shifting to high-grade freigh
  2. Specialisation in manufacturing and focusing on core competences
  3. Increasing diffusion in production and consumption
  4. Increasing complexity of the logistics chainThe economy's structure relates to possible changes in the composition and segmentation of freight. Developments that can be seen in this area are for instance the shift from goods to services and the increased competition between companies.

Facilitating transport supply is not only based on transport demand, but also on governing logistics concepts and cost and service aspects. Transport costs have decreased over the last decades while inventory costs have increased. This change in the relation between storage and transport cost drives shippers and forwarders to increase delivery frequencies in order to keep stocks at low levels. This trend does not show from the number of tons or ton-kilometres, but only from the number of vehicle-kilometres travelled.

Major ITCs and communication patterns among actors were identified. Findings from the State-of-the-Art on the effect of teleshopping, teleworking, and ITS applications on passenger transportation were presented. Finally the results from an innovative survey of a panel of Logistics experts showed that e-economy may have significant impact as an enabler on freight transport.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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