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Analyzing innovations in Europe's rail freight system: a perspective from innovation theories on the barriers and the opportunity windows

Müller, Stephan and Liedtke, Gernot and Lobig, Anika (2017) Analyzing innovations in Europe's rail freight system: a perspective from innovation theories on the barriers and the opportunity windows. European Transport Conference, 4 – 6 October 2017, Barcelona, Spain.

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Towards a sustainable transport system the shift from road to rail is a cornerstone in the European transport policy. However, considering European transport statistics the mode share of rail freight transport is low and stagnant or even decreasing over time. Despite the awareness by many actors in the field of rail freight transport that innovation is the key for attractive rail freight supply for customers, a break-through innovation or a perceptible innovation process is lagging. Against this background the article analyses and discusses the barriers of innovation efforts as well as the opportunities of innovations for the rail freight from perspective of innovation theory. From the analysis following, innovation barriers are found in rail freight transport: a) a lock-in effect of the actors in the rail freight system, which prevents to change established structures, b) path interdependence in all development efforts, which significantly restricts the solution space to the problem-solving, c) the Innovator’s Dilemma in the logistics industry, which dare not experiments with other modes of transport under market pressure and made investments in services and d) a Stalemate in Technology due to missing returns for innovations and missing market growth. The article shows that under these conditions a "continue as usual" is not helpful. For clear re-thinking the railway services and railway innovation policy from the perspective of innovation theory speaks, that a) the logistics market growth will take place more and more in niches in future, b) the pressure to environmentally friendly freight transport acts on the logistics and becomes stronger, c) increasing pressure from radical innovations by niche applications and d) a variety of radical inventions/innovations for established businesses in the freight are generally available and can be integrated. The overall conclusion i: rail freight transport requires radical innovations with the general future development pathway: Green logistics with explicitly market oriented new services, supporting new technologies deployed in young niches, with willingness to pay for specific solutions and a considerable potential to grow.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/116214/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:Analyzing innovations in Europe's rail freight system: a perspective from innovation theories on the barriers and the opportunity windows
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Date:6 October 2017
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Keywords:Freight railways, innovation in rail, radical innovation intransportation, disruptive innovation
Event Title:European Transport Conference
Event Location:Barcelona, Spain
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:4 – 6 October 2017
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Transport
HGF - Program Themes:Transport System
DLR - Research area:Transport
DLR - Program:V VS - Verkehrssystem
DLR - Research theme (Project):V - Verkehrsentwicklung und Umwelt II (old)
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Transport Research > Commercial Transport
Deposited By: Müller, Dr.-Ing. Stephan
Deposited On:01 Dec 2017 14:09
Last Modified:31 Jul 2019 20:13

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