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Conceptualising sustainable freight transport system on the ground of energy security
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Transport is a multifaceted question. On the one hand transport is approached as an indispensable element of economic growth and on the other hand, as a big contributor to anthropogenic climate change and energy consumer. The contradiction embedded in the nature of transport industry has made it difficult to deal with. To maintain economic growth it is vital to invest on transport infrastructure and to cut emissions and energy use it is crucial to research on mitigating measures.


The European Climate Foundation has prepared a document entitled Roadmap 2050 which is a guideline towards a low-carbon prosperous Europe. It has called for huge investments on renewable energies, fossil fuels plus Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and smart girds within the member states aiming at materialising 95-100% carbon-free power to meet the demand for energy in 2050. The portrayed picture of energy system will have implications on all sectors including transport which is of interest to this thesis.   


There are uncertainties in the document over the energy security criteria of primary energy sources that may put energy security of the EU at stake. Roadmap 2050 seems to be misleading when it comes to the direction of research and investment in the transport sector. The historical trends in transport behaviour are implying that the transport sector is unlikely to listen to the recommendations of Roadmap 2050.


Transport related problems like emissions, energy use, congestion, land use, accidents and fatalities and noise pollution are highly intertwined. A policy aiming at addressing one of these problems while serving the purpose of the policy makers may have a negative undesired impact on the others. It is very crucial therefor, to find a right core umbrella problem in the transport sector while not compromising economic growth. The prerequisite of such an approach is the necessity of conceptualising sustainable transport system. With the help of literature review and with the focus on freight sector, it was learnt that the increasing volume of transport was that right question towards which research should gain momentum. The question which covers all transport related problems. The gains from technological improvements in fuel economy and fuel shift measures in transport have been historically negated by the increased volume of transport and this zero-sum game will be stretching into future until 2050.


To reduce transport volume in freight sector, it is crucial to take a comprehensive system approach to promote intermodal transport in long distances and institutionalise small flows over short distances, which fits best the European pattern of freight transport. Facilitating innovation system, encouraging coordinated and integrated freight transport with the help of IT and e-commerce have been proved to be the necessary steps towards future sustainable transport. Incorporating logistics, supply chain and business research with transport and rural/urban planning on different scales of urban, rural and intra-urban transport network at local, regional and continental levels aiming at avoiding sectoral views is recommended.    

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 66 p.
Examensarbete vid Institutionen för geovetenskaper, ISSN 1650-6553 ; 185
Keyword [en]
Sustainable Development, Intermodal Transport, Energy Security, Freight transport, Innovation System, Conceptualising sustainable freight transport system
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-227493OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-227493DiVA: diva2:729859
Subject / course
Sustainable development
Educational program
Master Programme in Sustainable Development
2013-08-15, Geocentrum, Villavägen 16, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2014-06-27 Created: 2014-06-26 Last updated: 2014-06-27Bibliographically approved

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Ghaneimoghaddam, Javad
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