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Selected Publication:

Fischer-Kowalski, M; Gaube, V; Rainer, G.
(2006): MEFASPACE - A model predicting freight transport from materials flows, and transport activity in Europe
J IND ECOL. 2006; 10(4): 15-35. FullText FullText_BOKU

Materials flow analysis (MFA) generates highly aggregated indicators for the material "scale" of national economies. Similarly, transport statistics operate with indicators for the scale of freight transport activity. This article presents a model that seeks to predict the scale of freight transport from material flows. In the first part, the model MEFASPACE is developed conceptually and formally, as a linear and static ("mechanistic") model linking biophysical variables by,defined causalities ("white box"). The key prediction is that transport volume (TV in metric tons) relates to direct material input (DMI) by a reloading factor, which, for thermodynamic reasons, varies very little, Transport work (TW in metric ton kilometers), the most common indicator for transport activity, depends on TV and distance per haul. In a second part, we probe this model with transport statistics from European countries for the past four decades. Whereas for road and rail transport statistical indicators exist for many countries and years and comply with our modelxxxs theoretical definitions, they are either lacking or not complying well for other modes. The results were encouraging, nevertheless. In the past four decades, DMI corresponded very closely to TV as predicted, with a reloading factor that is in the expected range (1-3) and fairly stable across countries and time. At the same time, distances per haul showed a much more dynamic pattern, with quite a bit of variation between countries and a clear tendency to increase over time. Thus, MFA opens a new path for projections and scenario building for freight transport, but needs to be coupled to knowledge from other fields to generate a full picture of transport distances and, finally environmental pressure.
Authors BOKU Wien:
Fischer-Kowalski Marina
Gaube Veronika

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
environmental pressure
extraction-production-consumption-disposal chain
industrial ecology
predicting transport volumes
reloading factor

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