A Robust Network Design for Synchromodal Freight Transportation

April 23, 2019

Handling volume at maritime ports in the EU-28 in 2017 reached 4.0 billion tons/190.5 million 20ft containers (Eurostat, 2018). Hinterland transportation network needs to be strengthened to deal with the corresponding demand. The research objective of our first-year PhD student Rafiazka Hilman will be to explore the dynamics and robustness of multiple freight transportation modalities which are available to bring connectivity between the seaport and inland areas: road network for trucks, waterway network for barge and railway network for trains.

In particular, she will try to overcome a theoretical gap related to the absence of an integrated (multimodal) network planning for freight transportation and an empirical gap related to existing strategic planning in case of disruption at transfer points between different transportation modes. This research aims to identify the role of network topology in managing robustness in order to optimize synchromodal freight transportation network design.

She will explore the concept of synchromodality from a multilayer network perspective adopting the existing literature on robustness and cascading failures on such network topology. The main research hypotheses are that the coupling strategy may improve robustness of synchromodal freight transportation network and also that the robustness of synchromodal freight transportation network can be evaluated by identifying mutually connected giant component in the presence of random and strategic attack.

The dataset will be the Origin-Destination Demand (OD) matrix of the European Gateway System (EGS) network in 2017. It will be constructed as a directed, weighted and temporal multilayer network. The overlaps in transportation leg and node indicate that inter-modality substitutes are possible when failure occurs at a particular edge or node in the whole network.

Blog post by Teodoro Criscione