Did you know that 75% of all freight in Europe is transported by road? As a small country at the crossroads of major international transport routes, Luxembourg’s roads sees more than its fair share of these trucks, which cause traffic congestion and pollution as they pass through. It’s predicted that road traffic will only increase over the next two decades, so action needs to be taken now to encourage the development and adoption of sustainable alternatives.
Multi-modal transport is a promising alternative to road-only transportation. It involves using a combination of different modes of transport, including rail, short-sea shipping and river transportation, and has the potential to significantly ease road traffic and decrease the pollution caused by freight transport. However, there are a number of challenges to overcome before multi-modal transport can compete with using relatively inexpensive trucks. There is currently a lack of coordination between countries, and the information needed by freight forwarders to plan multi-modal routes across multiple borders is not readily available. Rail transport is attractive because truck trailers can be easily transported from one point to another, but without dedicated freight routes freight trains have to share the tracks with passenger trains. Shipping over water holds great potential and takes only slightly longer than over land, but this option is currently underused. The Weastflows project brings together 22 partners from across North West Europe to tackle these problems with the aim of developing sustainable multi-modal transport solutions along the West-East European transport corridor.
Partners will work on multiple interconnected projects to create solutions in four main areas: infrastructure, multi-modal logistics, ICT and telematics as well as knowledge sharing. The Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) is an active partner of Weastflows and will focus on the optimisation of supply chains through ICT. This will involve identifying, modelling and testing long-distance supply chains within North West Europe, as well as considering alternative modes of transport and determining their environmental impact to find optimal green corridors. Supply chains linking Luxembourg and Ireland as well as London and Hamburg will then be tested through cooperation with the private sector. The goal is to streamline supply chains through ICT technologies as part of the general aim of encouraging a widespread shift to greener freight transport in North West Europe.
"GeoWeastflows" is a platform for geospatial mapping, developed within the project, which enables the creation of applications overlayed on geolocation data on a map. It will host key information from the project, including maps, and will display all of the data collected.
The Weastflows project will help promote multi-modal transport by providing solutions to different actors involved in transportation and clearly demonstrating the viability of these alternatives. An online ICT journey planner tool will be developed to make it easy to plan multimodal routes in a way that is transparent to customers. As well, the public sector will be able to use the results of the project to improve transport networks and work towards the EU 2050 Transport White Paper. With a widespread move towards multi-modal transport on green corridors, citizens across North West Europe will be able to enjoy a greater number of products delivered sustainably as well as less congested and less polluted roads.