Project: Integration of Multi-Modal Reliability in the Assessment of Transport Schemes

Reference: STP 14/6/12

Last update: 04/08/2011 15:26:55


The aim is to characterise statistically the reliability of multi-modal transport networks, and the subjective perception of reliability by travellers (in relation to its objective characteristics).


Algorithms and software will be developed to compute appropriate benchmarking indicators of multi-modal reliability based on available road and rail operational data, and a theoretical framework for the representation of multi-modal reliability in travel demand models, with particular emphasis on its effect on choice of time and mode of travel. Within this framework, the effects of changes in reliability in relation both to experienced delays and to the ex-post costs of induced changes in the activities that individuals can pursue will be evaluated.


Imperial College London
Exhibition Road, London , SW7 2AZ
020 7589 5111

Contract details

Cost to the Department: £194,595.00

Actual start date: 20 May 2003

Actual completion date: 26 March 2008


Integration of Multi-Modal Reliability in the Assessment of Transport Schemes
Author: Prof. John Polak, Dr Stephane Hess, Xiang Liu & Alexis Michea (Imperial College London)
Publication date: 26/03/2008
Source: Centre for Transport Studies, Imperial College London

Summary of results

  1. Aim and Objectives: ITeLS aims at sustainable freight distribution. The main objective was to generate generic benefits which can enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of freight transport. In particular the objectives were to analyse and document logistics, transport and management practices involved in the partners' current supply chains. The assessment of vehicle utilisation enables the benchmarking both intra and inter industrial sectors. A further objective considered the implications of public policies on supply chains. Through modelling and simulation, the impact of efficiency improvements, modal shift, policy changes and supply chain management on sustainable supply chain performance were evaluated.

    (Note: The first objective was to analyse and document logistics, transport and management practices involved in the partners' current supply chains; inter and intra-sector in the UK, European and global contexts but ITeLS research focus was mainly on the supply chains in the UK due to priorities outlined through the focus group and steering board meetings attended by academic & industrial partners and the advisory panel members. Having said that ITeLS research did include simulation of multi-modal transport in Europe using Campbell Freight as the case study).

    The research is based on the principles of systems thinking; i.e. to take a total end to end supply chain perspective in which transport is an integral part. In particular, we study the role of:
    (a) Lean thinking in aiding the banishment of waste information. Waste information is most evident by the bullwhip effect which is a system induced disturbance that leads to uncertainty for decision makers;
    (b) eCommerce in enabling the development of novel supply chain pathways that ensure information transparency such as market demand and inventory levels. A good case in point is Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) with flexibility in inventory management, the use of demand and inventory information in production planning and shipments in full vehicle loads.
    (c) integrated transport management techniques such as Factory Gate Pricing (FGP). This is based on holistic management of the transport network looking to coordinate transport flows through consolidation, matching flows and backhauling.

    All of the above have been assessed in terms of their impact on supply chain management vis--vis transport operations.

    The research is particularly novel as for the first time freight transport and eCommerce are explicitly examined as integral elements of the total supply chain. The project featured a number of mini-projects with the industrial partners, to provide detailed case studies. The research utilised value stream and process activity mapping for documenting and analyzing the integration of transport in supply chains. For re-engineering the supply chains simulation methodology is used.
     A version of value stream mapping that considers environmental impacts such as emissions
     The most appropriate supply chain performance measures for sustainable distribution such as
    emissions per item
     Development of Overall Vehicle Effectiveness performance measure (OVE)
     Simulation models to evaluate the impact of demand amplification on transport including the
    application of ICT developments
     Tools to improve the interface between manufacturing and distribution to increase the
    efficiency of both domestic and international transport
     Different methods for integration of transport in supply chains including VMI and FGP
     A cost model was produced and developed into the LEFT2 GB strategic freight mode choice and generation model, which was used to estimate 2010 effects of five scenarios identified by ITeLS.

    Alternative strategic tools include the establishment of transport networks, the creation of seamless operations and transport process flows; vendor managed inventory and the collaborative planning and management of transport. The research suggests that these strategies often involve collaboration between customers and suppliers - transport should not be seen as a consumable, but instead as part of the overall service package to the end customer.