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Transportation Research Part E 40 (2004) 255270

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Modelling a rail/road intermodal transportation system


Pierre Arnold a, Dominique Peeters

a,b

, Isabelle Thomas

a,b,c,*

Department of Geography, Catholic University of Louvain, Place Louis Pasteur 3,


Louvain-la-Neuve 1348, Belgium
C.O.R.E., Catholic University of Louvain, Voie du Romain Pays 34, B-1348-Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
c
National Fund for Scientic Research, Belgium
Received 20 March 2002; received in revised form 26 August 2003; accepted 29 August 2003

Abstract
This paper deals with the problem of optimally locating rail/road terminals for freight transport. A linear
0-1 program is formulated and solved by a heuristic approach. The model is applied to the rail/road
transportation system in the Iberian Peninsula. Five planning scenarios are considered. It is shown that
modal shares are very sensitive to the cost of rail and to that of track gauge changes at the Spanish border.
Conversely, the location of the terminals has little or no impact on the market shares of the combined
trac, but location changes in the Peninsula generate consequences on the entire European transportation
system.
 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Intermodal terminals; Freight transport; Network design; Iberian Peninsula

1. Introduction
Freight transport demand in Europe has been growing by more that 30% during the last
decade. Concurrently, the modal share of road has signicantly increased. Its development is
mainly favoured by the current spatial distribution of human activities (linked to the land-use
policies) and by the progressive stock cuts in the productions processes. The so-called preeminence of the roadwhich is still expected to increase in the coming yearsgenerates
important negative externalities in terms of environmental and social costs (congestion, pollution,
infrastructure damages, road accidents), and greatly increases the use and over-use of the
*

Corresponding author. Address: Department of Geography, Catholic University of Louvain, Place Louis Pasteur 3,
Louvain-la-Neuve 1348, Belgium. Tel.: +32-101-47-21-35; fax: +32-10-47-28-77.
E-mail address: isabelle@geog.ucl.ac.be (I. Thomas).
1366-5545/$ - see front matter  2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.tre.2003.08.005

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P. Arnold et al. / Transportation Research Part E 40 (2004) 255270

motorway networks (see e.g. Nijkamp, 1994). Innovative policies and technologies will reduce
these negative impacts and promote integrated transport chains. An ecient spatial organisation
of the intermodal solution is an alternative solution for moderating the increase of the negative
externalities by substituting less resource-consuming transport modes to road (Rothengatter,
1991; Campisi et al., 1994; Muller, 1995; Priemus, 1999). These solutions will hopefully enable
future growth in transport demand to be partially absorbed by non-road alternatives.
Intermodal transport is dened by the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT)
as the carriage of goods by at least two dierent modes of transport in the same loading unit (an
Intermodal Transport Unit or ITU) without stung or stripping operations when changing modes.
The major part of the journey is done by rail, inland waterway or sea, and any initial and/or nal
legs carried out by road are as short as possible. In this contribution, intermodal transportation is
characterised by the combination of the advantages of rail and road, rail for long distances and
large quantities, road for collecting and distributing over short or medium distances (see e.g.
Nierat, 1992; Slack, 1998). This paper deals with the problem of optimally locating multimodal
terminals for freight transportation. It suggests a model and illustrates its operationality for rail/
road terminals in the Iberian Peninsula. The purpose of this application is to demonstrate the
impact of changes in the supply of transport on the modal shares within the Iberian Peninsula and
their spatial consequences on the ows all over Europe.
The transportation world does not grant any environmental bonuses. Even if the environmental
advantages of intermodal transport systems are known, economic competitiveness still prevails in
the choice of road hauliers. We do not intend to review all the papers related to this problem.
Most deal with the complementary nature and the competitiveness of the various modes of
transportation (Beuthe et al., 2001), the choice of modes or routes (McGinnis, 1989; Bookbinder
and Fox, 1998; Lozano and Storchi, 2001), economic returns versus congestion (Van Schijndel
and Dinwoodie, 2000), the logistical aspects of multimodal terminals (Bostel and Dejax, 1998;
Kozan and Preston, 1999; Kozan, 2000), or the environmental impacts of the dierent transport
modes (Campisi and Gastaldi, 1996). The location of the site (terminal) where the modal transhipping takes place is one of the most important elements when evaluating the competitiveness of
intermodal transport; it has to be added to other criteria such as pricing systems, distances
travelled, volume of ows, transhipment costs, queuing time, etc. Apart from market area theory
(see e.g. Nierat, 1997) or some multicriteria approaches (see e.g. Ashayeri and Rongen, 1997;
Macharis and Verbeke, 1999), the location criterion is seldom explicitly used, leading at times to
inconsistencies in the planning choices.
Location theory enables several spatial aspects associated with transportation in general, and
with network design problems in particular, to be dealt with. Let us here mention some papers
that give a general idea of the problem, dealing with the denition of the problem as well as the
models themselves (see e.g. Minoux, 1989; Daskin, 1995; Drezner, 1995; Balakrishnan et al., 1997;
Raghavan and Magnanti, 1997; Melkote and Daskin, 2001) or with associated techniques for
solving the problem (Nemhauser and Wolsey, 1988; Ahuja et al., 1993). Hub network design
problems are one subset of problems that have recently gained prominence in the scientic literature. Initially formulated by OKelly (1986), they have seen several theoretical developments
(see e.g. OKelly, 1987; Aykin, 1990; Campbell, 1994a,b, 1996; OKelly and Bryan, 1998) as well as
an increasing diversication of their applications (see OKelly and Miller, 1994; Bryan and
OKelly, 1999; Campbell et al., 2002 for comprehensive reviews). However, these extensions

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always deal with a denition of the hub as a nodal point for collecting, dispatching and redistributing ows. So, the hub problem can easily be extended to the location of intermodal terminals. Arnold and Thomas (1999) gave an initial formulation for this kind of problem and
discussed such a generalisation, its advantages and drawbacks with a very simple example.
Extensions were formulated later (Arnold et al., 2001) in order to give an idea of the most typical
situations encountered in intermodal spatial transportation problems. This hub-type formulation
has, however, an important drawback: the number of decision variables is so enormous that large
applications are often unsolvable.
In this paper, an alternative formulation to the hub-type formulation is used; it is based on
multicommodity xed-charge network design problems (see Magnanti and Wong, 1994; Nemhauser and Wolsey, 1988 for a general description). For several years this subset of problems has
been characterised by theoretical developments in operations research (see e.g. Holmberg and
Hellstrand, 1998; Holmberg and Yuan, 1998) as well as by a wide diversity of applications pertaining mainly to telecommunications, transportation logistics and distribution processes.
Transposing this kind of approach to the location of intermodal terminals for freight transport
requires a new denition of the concept of intermodality by representing the terminals in the form
of edges. Hence, it simplies the problem by reducing the number of decision variables to be
estimated. Nevertheless, the size of the relevant applications pertaining to intermodal transport is
still too large for exact solutions to be found within a reasonable computing time. This constraint
is due to the problem itself and leads inevitably to an approximate solution. The model used in
this paper enables one to consider large real-world transportation planning situations.
The model is applied to the Iberian Peninsula. It is limited to continental freight transport, and
more particularly to road and rail freight transport. The paper aims at showing the impact of
changes in the supply of transport on the modal shares in the ows. Simulations are performed for
ve planning scenarios.
The paper is organised as follows. Section 2 gives the formulation of the model. Section 3
presents the method developed for solving the problem. The application to freight transport in the
Iberian Peninsula is reported in Section 4. Section 5 concludes the paper.

2. Intermodal terminals location formulations


The explosive growth of the number of decision variables in the formulation developed by
Arnold et al. (2001) is a serious limitation to the applicability of current ILP mathematical
programming packages to real-world instances. Many realistic intermodal terminal location
problems involve hundreds of potential sites for setting up a terminal and thousands of origins
destinations. However, in the area of hub location problems, various researchers have developed
new formulations and better solution methods to solve larger problems (see Campbell et al., 2002
for a review). In the same way, we propose here an alternative formulation closely linked to
multicommodity xed-charge network design problems. By considering a terminal not as a vertex
but as an arc in a graph, this new formulation allows the number of decision variables to be
reduced signicantly when the network is sparse.
Suppose that there are two networks corresponding to two dierent transportation modes (e.g.
road and rail). Each network is represented by a directed graph Gi Vi ; Ei , i 1; 2, where Vi is

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the set of nodal points of the network i, while Ei is the set of road segments joining them in the
corresponding network. We suppose that there are origin and/or destination points V 0 for the
commodities to be shipped. Let E0 be the set of roads by which the origin/demand points can
physically be linked to either G1 or G2 . We build a directed super-graph G V ; E in the following way. The set of nodes V is made up of V1 , V2 and V 0 . The set of arcs E consists of E1 , E2 , E0
and of a special subset Et (called transfer arcs) representing the potential junctions between G1
and G2 , i.e., the potential terminals. Of course, one endpoint of a transfer arc belongs to V1 and the
other to V2 . We can reasonably expect that ows through a terminal be allowed in both directions.
Therefore, as we consider directed graphs, a terminal will be actually represented by a pair of arcs
e and e, one linking G1 to G2 , the other linking G2 to G1 . Two states are possible for a transfer
arc: either it is open and ows through it are allowed, or it is closed and ows through it are
prohibited. According to our hypothesis e and e will be simultaneously open or closed. 1


Let Ei
represent the set of arcs incident to vertex i and Ei
the set of arcs incident from vertex i.
Let P denote the set of origin/destination couples i; j such that there is a demand for hauling
commodities from i to j. Each transfer arc is associated with a Boolean variable y e describing its
state: it is set equal to 1 if e is open and to 0 if it is closed. From the previous discussion, we have
y e y e . For each pair i; j 2 P and each arc e, we dene a Boolean variable xeij which takes the
value 1 when the itinerary for hauling the commodity from i to j passes through e; otherwise xeij is
set to 1. Let ceij be the cost incurred when passing through the arc: it depends on many factors such
as the quantity and nature of the commodity shipped from i to j, the length of e, and the velocity
along the arc. When e 2 Et , ceij represents the transfer cost at a terminal. Note that this denition
of transportation cost assumes that the economies of scale are dened a priori and not endogenously as in OKelly and Bryan (1998) or Horner and OKelly (2001).
The problem is now formulated as follows:
X X
ceij xeij
1
Min
i;j2P e2E

ye 2  q

xeij 1 8i; j 2 P

e2Et

e2Ei

xeij


e2Ek

xeij

8i; j; k 6 i; j 2 P

e2Ek

xeij 1 8i; j 2 P


e2Ej

xeij 6 y e
e

y y

e

8i; j 2 P ; e 2 Et
8e 2 E

If the arc e is dened by the pair of vertices i; j, then e is dened by the pair j; i.

6
7

P. Arnold et al. / Transportation Research Part E 40 (2004) 255270

y e 2 f0; 1g 8e 2 Et
xeij P 0 8i; j 2 P ; e 2 E

259

8
9

The objective function (1) states that the total transportation cost associated with the ows
between origin and destination points is to be minimized. The constraint (2) species that 2  q
transfer arcs (or q terminals, as a terminal is represented by two transfer arcs) should be created. Eqs. (3)(5) are ow conservation constraints at each node. Constraint (6) stipulates
that a transfer arc can only be used if a terminal is implemented, while constraint (7) states
that the implementation of a terminal implies that transfer arcs are simultaneously created
in two directions. Finally, Eqs. (8) and (9) are standard non-negativity and integrality constraints.
The problem is a linear 0-1 program with n2  m m decision variables and
n3 n2  2 m m 1 constraints, where m is the number of arcs in the network. Note that this
formulation allows more than two transfers on the path between i and j.
The proposed model allows the problem of optimally locating several terminals simultaneously
to be solved for a given criterion. In the formulation presented here, the criterion is the minimization of the total transportation cost (which includes transhipping costs). However, in some
circumstances, this criterion may be inappropriate. Alternative objective functions can be used
(see Section 3).

3. Heuristic procedure
As mentioned in the introduction, the size of real-world intermodal transportation problems is
often far beyond the present possibilities of ILP packages, so that for the time being, we cannot
expect to nd exact solutions within a reasonable time limit for these applications. Therefore we
have to resort to heuristic methods. The one proposed here, noted ITLSS (Intermodal Terminals Location Simulation System), is based on a particular representation of the transportation
system that explicitly uses the multimodality concept. In this sense, it is close to the methods used
in STAN (Guelat et al., 1990) and NODUS (Jourquin and Beuthe, 1996; Jourquin et al.,
1999) which have been proved to be ecient in many applications within the area of strategic
transportation systems planning (Jourquin and Beuthe, 2003). ITLSS deepens the modelling
process led by the creators of STAN and NODUS by introducing the concept of a potential
terminal. Because of the existence of infrastructure costs, it seems unreasonable to admit the
possibility of intermodal exchanges at every point of the networks. Consequently, determining
where to locate a limited number of transfer opportunities in order to create an ecient transportation system is a crucial question. ITLSS tackles this problem by relying on the multicommodity xed-charge network design problem formulation proposed in Section 2. This procedure
allows problems involving several thousands of nodes to be solved approximately. However,
ITLSS is designed as a transportation planning decision-making tool; it thus supersedes the simple
terminal location aspect and, for a given problem, allows multiple scenarios (including supply/
demand variations, alternative objective functions, etc.) to be taken into account.
The transportation infrastructure is modeled within ITLSS by a set of nodes and a set of arcs
for every mode. The nodes stand for physical locations on the network and the arcs for the

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existing links between these locations. Every arc is characterised by a set of attributes and by a
transportation cost resulting from these attributes. A particular subset of nodes, called centroids, represents the places which are origins and/or destinations for the commodities to be
shipped in the system. This means that a node which is not a centroid is never an origin nor a
destination. The centroids are linked to the network infrastructure by means of arcs called
connectors, which have attributes similar to the other arcs. Likewise, we consider transfer
arcs representing possible transhipment between the nodes; a distinction is made between active and potential transfer arcs; while the former are always accessible, transit through one of
the latter is only possible if it has been declared open. Thus, the model makes use of a representation of a terminal as an arc joining two dierent modal networks.
The set of elements that represent the multimodal transportation system is thus reduced to a
weighted graph made up of all connectors and active arcs. The procedure begins with the
arbitrary selection of q potential transfer arcs where terminals are assumed to be provisionally
opened. Then for every commodity we calculate the shortest path between the origin and the
destination on the extended network; this is done by using an implementation of the Dijkstra
algorithm. Since no capacity constraints are imposed on the arcs and nodes, we simply have to
take into account the quantities to be shipped and to add the ows to determine the pattern of
commodity movements in the network. Next, we evaluate some objective criterion for this
pattern. Note that the model is not a multicriteria type model. Each objective criterion is
evaluated independently and there is no agreement procedure between solutions. In ITLSS,
the criterion can be: (1) the total transportation cost, (2) the total quantity passing through
the transfer arcs, or (3) the total ow circulating in one of the modal networks. This variety of
criteria allows the behavior of the dierent agents interfering in the transportation process
to be taken into account. These include: (1) the carrier, who wants to minimize his transportation costs; (2) the terminal operator, whose interest is to maximize the use of the terminals,
and (3) the public authority, which wants to promote a durable use of the infrastructure and to
minimize the negative externalities generated by the transportation. A further step is to
investigate the impact of shifting one of the q terminals to a vacant potential site: if moving
the terminal induces a reduction in the selected objective function, the model selects this
improved solution. The procedure ends up when no improvement is obtained by any permutation.
For each optimal conguration of the terminals, ITLSS provides several additional indicators:
the total transportation cost (eciency measure);
the modal split of the ows (estimated by the lower cost aectation of ows on road and rail
networks);
for each demand pair, the shortest path (transportation itinerary);
the resulting distribution of the transportation costs (from which an equity index can possibly
be derived);
the trac load on each connecting and active arc and through each terminal.
These indicators are essential as they allow the possible impact of decisions on terminal locations, including the induced eects on the transportation system as a whole, to be
studied.

P. Arnold et al. / Transportation Research Part E 40 (2004) 255270

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4. Application to the Iberian multimodal network


4.1. Studied area
The model developed in the preceding sections is now applied to the Iberian Peninsula (Spain
and Portugal). This application not only illustrates the operationality of the model, but also aims
at exploring the impact of the variations in the transportation supply on the modal shares of
terrestrial containerised freight transport. Five scenarios are considered in order to successively
take into account: (1) variations in rail transport costs, (2) variations in transhipment costs, (3)
technical international compatibility, (4) the location of additional terminals, and (5) the optimisation of the location of the existing terminals.
The choice for this case study is based on several elements. First, intermodality has by denition a macro-geographic dimension; a broad interregional/international context had to be
considered. Second, the semi-insularity and the relative isolation of Iberia within the European
transportation system was another advantage. Moreover, the track gauge in Iberia is dierent
from that in the rest of Europe, increasing the relative isolation eect. Third, the actual number
and the density of the existing rail/road terminals in this southern part of Europe are insucient.
Fourth, the Spanish motorway system has been improved in the last 15 years leading to a substantial reduction in freight transport by rail. Last but not least, the recent integration of the
Iberian Peninsula into European freight corridors has signicantly increased the potential for
cross-border exchanges.
4.2. Denition of the inputs
The European road network of international interest dened by ECMT (European Conference
of Ministers of Transport) is used as a reference here. This network covers western Europe, and
enables the induced eects of the suggested locations within the Iberian multimodal system on the
European network to be considered.
The European multimodal network used in this study results from the merging of two networks: the motorways, composed of 2191 arcs and 1745 nodes, and the railways, composed of
1706 arcs and 1745 nodes (Fig. 1). These two European networks are connected by 175 existing
rail/road terminals (15 of which are located in the Iberian Peninsula) and also by 13 potential
terminals located in the Iberian Peninsula. Additional nodes (centroids) are associated with these
networks: they represent the origins and destinations of the ows of goods circulating in the
system. These are mainly cities selected because of their signicant role on the European scene (see
e.g. RECLUS, 1989; Dupuy and Stransky, 1996; Gutierrez and Urbano, 1996). In order to better
cover the Iberian area and better analyse the trac distribution, all Spanish and Portuguese cities
of more than 50,000 inhabitants are also considered as nodes.
Because of the non-availability of data at the level of spatial aggregation studied, the ows of
goods between the centroids are estimated by a gravity-type model and by disaggregation of
Eurostat (Statistical Oce of the European Communities) data. The origin/destination matrix is
now made of 21,816 origin/destination pairs of which 24% are located in the Iberian Peninsula
(national ows). The analysis here is restricted to continental containerised goods transport (see
Fig. 2). Without giving more details about the computation of the data matrix, it appears that the

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P. Arnold et al. / Transportation Research Part E 40 (2004) 255270

Fig. 1. Multimodal network in the Iberian Peninsula.

Fig. 2. Distribution of the transportation and demand combining origin and destination freight.

P. Arnold et al. / Transportation Research Part E 40 (2004) 255270

263

ows computed between the dierent sub-regions are suciently close to the real ows to be used
for estimating the impact of the variation in the transport supply on the modal share of trac.
The transportation cost functions are linear with distance and independent of the quantities
transported. This assumption is justied by the macro-scale geographical dimension (western
Europe) and the timeless characteristic of the analysis. The transportation cost functions also
imply that transport units are always full (i.e. there is no empty return) and that the transhipment
costs are independent of the quantities. The estimation of these functions results from the calibration of the model.
4.3. Denition of the scenarios
The variations in the supply of transport is now considered. These variations are associated
with the operating costs of the transport modes and networks, or with the changes in the
transportation infrastructure itself. Fig. 3 represents the structure of the ve scenarios studied.
The aim of this section is to determine, for each scenario, the consequences for the use of the
dierent transportation modes within the Iberian Peninsula and also for the European transportation system as a whole.
Scenario 1 considers the variation of the relative cost of rail compared to that of road; this
results from changes in the costs of energy, in taxation systems, in taris, or in the integration of
environmental costs. Scenario 2 enables the inuence of variations in transhipment costs to be
identied; such variations can result from technical or logistic changes associated with the
infrastructure, or from the introduction of nancial support to the transhipping operations.
Scenario 3 considers the obstacle constituted by the change of track gauges between Iberian
Peninsula and the rest of Western Europe. This change implies a rail transshipment (rail-to-rail)
at the Iberian border and hence penalises the international rail trac because of the extra
cost associated to this additional handling (subsequently called border eect). These rst
three scenarios do not consider any location problem; they are limited to the allocation aspect.

Fig. 3. Structure of the ve scenarios.

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Simulations are performed on the current multimodal network, taking into account the existing
terminals only.
The two last scenarios consider changes in the number and location of the terminals. Scenario 4
determines the optimal location of new terminals intended to increase the current transportation
supply (and hence represent an increase in investment). Scenario 5 is concerned with the current
location of the terminals; it optimises these locations in order to increase the eciency of the
system. These two latter scenarios explicitly deal with locationallocation aspects of the method.
They illustrate the potentialities and the operationality of the ITLSS method in decision-making
for new transportation infrastructure.
4.4. Modelling results
4.4.1. Reference situation
Each scenario is now discussed individually and compared to a reference situation. The
benchmark relies on a calibration of the model and, more particularly, on the estimation of the
cost functions integrated in the model. It is based on the distribution of the transportation distances and comparison with the observed multimodal transport reality. In practice, the combination of the economies of scale achieved by rail transport and the transhipment costs of this kind
of transportation mode imply a minimum distance of 500 km within a given chain of combined
transport. An adjustment of the cost function parameters enables this requirement to be reproduced from the estimated origindestination (OD) matrix and the existing multimodal network
as dened earlier in this paper (relative cost of rail 0.65; transhipment cost equivalent to 100
km). Nevertheless, dierences between the simulated and the real market shares are observed
for the dierent modes. We therefore assume that the observed transportation ows do not
minimize the transportation costs. We also assume that transportation costs are the only ones
intervening in the decision related to transport, as we can realistically suppose that operators try
to optimise the transport mechanisms. Other factors which have not been taken into account in
this model, although they should not be neglected in the nal decision, include: speed, security of
transport, deterioration of the goods and queuing time. We assume here that a function of
accessibility costs is the most important dimension in the multimodal problem, however accessibility is expressed.
4.4.2. Scenario 1variation of the relative cost of rail transport
The rst set of simulations enables the modal shares for dierent levels of relative cost for rail
(incremented by steps of 5%) to be estimated. For each cost variation, the entire OD matrix is reallocated. Figs. 4 and 5 clearly show that the modal share of international trac is more sensitive
than the modal share of national trac. Road transport is better suited for short and medium
distances and, as a consequence, captures most of the national trac. However, the market share
of the combined transport reaches a maximum of 25%, when the relative cost for rail is half the
road cost. For international trac, the market share of combined transport exceeds 50%.
Whatever the type of trac, the market shares of rail and combined transport are reduced and
tend to be insignicant when the relative cost of rail is greater than 0.80. This perfectly illustrates
the fact that, when no environmental bonus is granted, the economic competitiveness of rail (and
transhipping operations) is a determining factor in the choice of transportation. Besides the

P. Arnold et al. / Transportation Research Part E 40 (2004) 255270

265

Fig. 4. Variation of the model share of the national trac.

Fig. 5. Variation of the model share of the international trac.

variation in the market shares of the dierent modes or combination of modes, the increase in the
relative cost of rail also has a major impact on trac distribution on the networks. Fig. 6 illustrates the important changes in road trac distribution when the relative cost increased by 10%.
Besides a considerable increase in cross-border trac and in the trac converging on Madrid,
induced eects are observed on the entire European network.
4.4.3. Scenario 2variation of the costs of transhipping at terminals
The modal share of goods transported by combined system is very sensitive to changes in
transhipment costs. For national trac, the market share of the combined trac is reduced by
50% when the cost of transhipping increases in the same proportion. The consequences for the
distribution of trac on the Iberian motorway network are also quite important, particularly in
the area of Madrid.

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Fig. 6. Modication of the road trac distribution following an increase of the relative cost of the rail.

Fig. 7. Variation of the market share of the combined trac, with and without border eect.

4.4.4. Scenario 3variation of the rail border eect


This set of simulations enables the impact of the suppression of the border eect (due to rail
incompatibilities) on the distribution of tracs to be estimated. Fig. 7 illustrates the impact on the
market shares of the combined trac. The deletion of the border eect generates an important

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267

increase in the uxes passing through the terminals located near the border (Barcelona, Tarragona, Saragossa, Pamplona and Irun); this can even generate capacity problems if installations are
not signicantly upgraded. A substantial reduction in trans-border loads carried by the road
network and, by contrast, an increase in road trac converging on or diverging from Madrid is
also observed. In this sense, the deletion of the border eect generates numerous induced eects,
some of which are negative (as the main roads around Madrid are already quite congested). Hence
the multimodal problem is obviously a macro-scale planning problem, with many induced eects
at regional, national and supranational levels. It is essential to consider these eects and their
consequences in transport decisions at dierent scales.
4.4.5. Scenario 4location of new terminals
The location of new terminals has only a very small impact on modal shares. At the very most,
an increase of 3% in the international combined trac is observed by adding terminals at Alicante, Caceres and Merida. The impact of these new terminals on the distribution of road trac is
clearly more important. Indeed, the increase in the number of terminals enables the length of
initial and nal legs to be signicantly reduced, leading to a reduction in road trac in the entire
Iberian Peninsula. In the same way, a large change in the trac loads in the dierent terminals is
observed, particularly with a new terminal at Alicante which absorbs the tracs previously
captured by Valencia and Cartagena. Hence, we have to use several indicators to assess the potential impact of any decision regarding the location of terminals on the entire transportation
system, including the existing terminals.
4.4.6. Scenario 5optimisation of the location of the existing terminals
The optimisation of the location of the existing terminals hasas in the previous scenario
almost no eect on the modal shares. A solution with the 15 existing terminals appears to be
almost optimal. Minor changes are observed between the existing and the optimal locations: the
transfer of the terminal from Valencia to Sagonte, the removal of the terminal of Cartagena replaced by a new terminal in Murcia, etc. However, all these small changes inuence the distribution of trac: road and rail ows converging on or diverging from Madrid increase
substantially. On the other hand, trac distribution elsewhere in Europe has a better balanced
rail/road distribution.

5. Conclusion
Intermodal (or combined) transport can be a worthwhile alternative to unimodal transport,
and especially for road transport. The location of the terminals where a change of mode or
network takes place matters in the evaluation of economic competitiveness but also in the success
of multimodality. As stated in the literature review (Section 2), the model used in this paper relies
on an integer linear programming formulation similar to that used in multicommodity xedcharge network design problems. The advantages of this approach have been put forward and a
method for solving large size problems has been implemented. The application to the optimal
location of terminals for freight containerised bi-modal transport in the Iberian Peninsula illustrates the operationality of the method. It shows that the modal shares of the goods which have

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their origin or their destination in Iberia is very sensitive to the variation of the relative cost of rail.
The change in track gauges between Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Western Europe also signicantly aects the results, as it strongly inuences the rate of trans-border rail transit. Conversely, the location of new terminals will not signicantly increase the market share of combined
trac, and a relocation of existing terminals within Spain or Portugal (to achieve transport cost
minimization) has also little or no impact.
The consequences of the change in transport supply on national and international tracs have
to be dierentiated as dierences in the way market shares change can be observed. As intermodal
transport is more competitive for long distances, this issue is only relevant for a large scale of
analysis (such as Europe as a whole). The application developed in this paper shows that it is
essential to consider the eects of any specic transport supply decision (at local or regional scale)
according to an international perspective. Downstream consequences can, for instance, be expressed in terms of local congestion or changes of freight lanes. The application developed in this
paper also reveals that several criteria have to be used for evaluating the simulations; changes in
the transportation system depend on the criterion used.

Acknowledgements
The authors are grateful to Bart Jourquin for providing the network data set and to the
anonymous referees for their valuable comments.

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