COMBI-ROAD An Innovation in Large Scale Container Transport 981940

Combi-Road is a container road transport system with high capacity. The system uses specially designed tracks which can be constructed as separate roads or as extra lanes alongside existing motorways. The containers are pulled on semi-trailers by unmanned automatically controlled electrical vehicles. The system allows to reduce the amount of vertical handlings in the transport chain. On so-called transfer stations containers are exchanged with sea shipping, road, railway and inland shipping.
The Combi-Road project started January 1994. During the process of development the innovative technological nature of the concept has been strongly emphasized. In an early stage the implementation strategy has been paid attention to.
This paper describes the basic technical details of the Combi-Road system, as well as the results of the initial test phase which has been completed by the end of 1996. Furthermore the follow-up phase is discussed which includes a broadening of the logistical concept in a concrete situation of introduction of the system in the Netherlands. Starting from so-called Logistical City Parks at the edge of a city, goods are distributed via tubes with unmanned vehicles to District Distribution Depots with a service area of approximately 500 metres.
The supply of goods to the Logistical City Parks can be via the traditional transport modes road, water and rail or, for example, Combi-Road.
In the concrete situation maritime containers as well as continental unitised cargo are transported between the following origin and destination points:
  • on the one hand the container terminal on the Maasvlakte in Rotterdam, and,
  • on the other hand the District Distribution depot in a city such as Utrecht,
  • utilising the SHIFT-infra (Specific Highway Infrastructure for Freight Transport) as basic network,
  • which, in the Logistical City Parks, is linked to the tube network for urban freight transport, and,
  • en route at transfer stations such as the Multimodal Transport centre Valburg along the river Rhine exchanges with other modes take place or connections are made to systems such as the Underground Logistical System (ULS) at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
This is an ambitious approach which could lead to a break-through in automatic goods transportation in densely populated urban and interurban areas with intense traffic congestion problems.


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