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Intermodal freight transportation is defined as a system that carries freight from origin to destination by using two or more transportation modes. In this system, hubs are one of the key elements that function as transferring points of freight between different modes. The location of hubs is one of the most crucial success factors in intermodal freight transportation and needs to be considered very carefully as it has direct and indirect impacts on different stakeholders including investors, policy makers, infrastructure providers, hub operators, hub users, and the community. There have been several attempts to evaluate intermodal freight hub location decisions by using conventional multi-objective evaluation models. Only a few studies take community's benefits into account next to the costs and it is difficult to assess the relationship between system level performance and the prefered solution for individual actors. This paper aims at developing an integral model for the evaluation of road-rail intermodal freight hub location decisions. The model comprises five dominant types of agents namely, hub operators, terminal operators, infrastructure providers, hub users, and communities. An agent based modeling approach is introduced to allow negotiation to happen in order to achieve a global objective. The paper outlines the methodology to be used. It presents a conceptual design and an illustrative case study for an agent based model for the decision making process for planning the location of intermodal freight hubs.
Date of Conference: 15-17 April 2007