Foliated Transportation Networks - Evaluating feasibility and potential
Abstract: Neither the critical role that transportation plays for economic activities nor its negative external effects can be denied. At the same time, the resources required to sustain and develop the transportation system to an adequate degree and at the required pace are limited. The problem that these properties result in is that the inputs of the system are finite and scarce and the external effects of it negative, but the output is too critical to do without. The most obvious path to a solution is, therefore, trying to increase output obtained from the same or a lesser amount of input. In light of this, the attempt to utilize the existing overcapacity, whatever its extent may be, and improving the operational efficiency with sustained or improved effectiveness, stands out as one of the most viable approaches. In this thesis the concept of Foliated Transportation Networks (FTN) is evaluated with regard to feasibility of its implementation and its potential impact on the performance of the transportation network. The main objective of the concept of FTN is achieving performance improvements by foliating two different network structures, i.e., direct shipment and hub and spoke, in order to minimize the underutilized units in the network and thereby achieving performance improvements. The studies show that FTN is feasible to implement in existing networks with limited requirements for additional investments in new technologies. Even though new technological platforms and innovations would be beneficial for the implementation of FTN, a majority of its identified potential can be accessed using existing technologies and rule-of-thumb control. The performance improvement potential that is identified and measured in number of units, traffic work and load factor is substantial. In addition, partial implementation is possible and about 80% of the potential could be realized when about 20% of the system is available for foliated control. The identified potential has proved to be robust following numerous sensitivity analyses.
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