Delft University of Technology
Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering
Transport Technology / Logistic Engineering

A.D. Heyning Haalbaarheidsstudie van rail-weg hybride containertransport in de Nederlandse markt.
Masters thesis, Report 2001.LT.5519, Transport Technology, Logistic Engineering.

A possible alternative transport modality is the automatic guided rail-road hybrid transport system, which can be used on roads as well as railroads. The goal of this study is to assess the feasibility of a network for container transport with rail-road hybrid vehicles. This is done by creating an overview of the demand on container transport market and the possibilities of a rail-road hybrid network. An exploitation model is designed to quantify market opportunities and exploitation possibilities. The model is applied to the case of the 'Betuweroute', a railroad connection between Rotterdam and the German border.

At this moment container transport between port and hinterland is done by truck, train or boat. A possible alternative transport modality is the rail-road hybrid transport system, developed by the TU Delft. This system differs from the conventional system on two aspects: The rail-road hybrid vehicle has approximately the length of a truck. It has rubber wheels, which are used for steering, and rail-wheels that can be used for vertical support. It can be used on dedicated roads as well as railroads that are adjusted with concrete panels for the rubber wheels. With these techniques the rail-road hybrid systems benefits of the low resistance of rail as well as the two-dimensional freedom of road. The rail-road hybrid vehicle is guided automatically and can travel without a driver. The automatic guidance system differs from the conventional system because it can operate on large scale (geographically and with many vehicles).

To be feasible, a new transportation system must be interesting in the market and exploitable without external financial help. The chances of success depend on the motivation of all stakeholders and the demands that can be satisfied.

Goal and structure of the study
The goal of this study is to judge the feasibility of a network for container transport with rail-road hybrid vehicles. This is done in four steps. First an overview of the demand on the container transport market is created. Then the supply to this demand is described, in which the possibilities of a rail-road hybrid network are highlighted. After that an exploitation model is designed to quantitatively judge the exploitation possibilities. Finally a case study of a rail-road implemented Betuweroute is done.

The demand
In this study the complete landside container transportation chain is regarded, from ship crane to hinterland destination (and the other way around). This includes all transfer moves (by cranes) and stacking.

The market on which the possibilities are explored is the container transport market of 2020, according to the DE- and GC-scenarios (Centraal Plan Bureau). The actual development is between these two scenarios and, when the average of the two scenarios is taken, the market will multiply by 2,5 between 1995 and 2020.

The supply
The different modalities are characterized by the balance between the demanded tariff and the quality that is offered. The quality dimensions are reliability, time, frequency, condition (damage) and flexibility. The main aspects on which a transportation modality is chosen are time and tariff (costs to user). These two aspects are regarded for the complete landside chain and are mainly influenced by the speed, the quantity of handling moves, the stacking time and the tariff.

The new rail-road hybrid modality has the remarkable advantage of being able to participate at both the terminal operations and the hinterland transport. Therefore it can skip several handling moves. The different quantities of necessary handling moves in the transport chains make large differences in time in costs. The required travel time of the rail-road hybrid system is close to the truck, which is relatively fast.

The exploitation model
To be able to give a quantitative judgement on the exploitation possibilities of a network for rail-road hybrid vehicles in the container transport market, an exploitation model is designed. The most important part of the model is the choice model that describes the market chances of a modality, by modeling the choice process. The main choice factors are time and costs. The container transport market is divided in different regions. For all regions the most interesting (in terms of exploitation) tariff and the related market share are calculated. With a basic cost calculation, an indication of the exploitation results is created.

Figure 1: The demand-, supply- en exploitation functions

The optimal (absolute) exploitation result is obtained, at the maximum difference between revenues and costs (figure 1). The maximum absolute exploitation result implies that an optimal market share is obtained and not that the maximum tariff is asked.

The case study, a rail-road hybrid Betuweroute
The Betuweroute transfers the Netherlands from east to west (and the other way around), from the Maasvlakte (Port of Rotterdam) to Zevenaar. The rail-road hybrid Betuweroute is divided in ten links between nodes that are interesting locations for transfer terminals. From each terminal different parts of the market are supplied, including three international regions. The model is calibrated on the market of 1995 (without rail-road hybrid system) (figure 2). After that, the volumes of 2020 and the properties of the rail-road modality are used as input of the calibrated model. With the model the market shares of the four modalities in 2020 and the exploitation results of the rail-road hybrid system are calculated

Figure 2. 1995 modal split and model output for 2020.

The calculations show that the rail-road hybrid network is profitable on all transport relations. With maximum financial results on all relations, an average market share of 9,4 % is feasible.
The most critical and uncertain factors of influence are the transfer costs (per move) in the rail-road hybrid chain and the travel time and costs of the other modalities. When these factors are varied with 10% (both positive and negative) the market shares are influenced. Changing the tariffs of the competing modalities has the highest impact. When these are lowered with 10%, the market shares of the rail-road hybrid system drops with 40%. However, there is enough room in the exploitation results to compensate these changes.
An alternative market scenario is tested. This shows that when the road tariffs grow and the tariffs of the rail-road hybrid are lowered to the cost level, a market share of 43% is obtained on national markets (60% on regions close to Rotterdam).

Conclusions en recommendations

The main conclusions that are drawn from the research study are: According to the conclusions, the rail-road hybrid system is interesting for further research. It is recommended to produce the following parts:

Reports on Logistic Engineering (in Dutch)
Modified: 2002.05.24; , TU Delft / 3mE / TT / LT.