Category Archives: Transport geography

Logistics Perfromance Index – country level benchmarking

The fourth edition of the Logistics Performance Index is out now for those who want to do some country-level benchmarking. The LPI is  prepared by the World Bank and Prof. Lauri Ojala at Turku School of Economics, Finland.

The interactive benchmarking tool is complemented by an interesting report — ‘Connecting to compete. Trade Logistics in the Global Economy‘.

On the importance of supply chains:

Supply chains are the backbone of international trade and commerce. Their logistics encompasses freight transportation, warehousing, border clearance, payment systems, and increasingly many other functions outsourced by producers and merchants to dedicated service providers.
On the societal role of logistics:
The importance of good logistics performance for economic growth, diversification, and poverty reduction is now firmly established.
Here, logistics does not only tap into the bottom line of the individual firm. Rather, ‘logistics performance’ has wider implications for economic development for countries and living conditions.
Logistics is not merely ‘business logistics’!




Quote of the day: Development = not needing a car

“A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transportation.”

Spotted at TEDxYouth@Seattle’s FB site.


Social, health (and environmental) impacts of transportation

The EU likes to focus on CO2 emissions (only), but it is time to consider the social impacts of transportation as well. Jones and Lucas (2012) summarise it rather well, outlining the social impact to consist of accessibility (vs. severance), health- and finance-related outcomes and community-related impacts. Some highlights are the discussion of
– coercive walking, when you don’t really have a choice and walking actually causes stress,
– the intrinsic value and enjoyment of travel,
– the role of social networks in activity-travel planning (vs. social exclusion), and issues of the
– fear of crime.

Interesting from a geography angle is the trifold discussion of distribution effects across space, time, but also across socio-demographic patterns. More on the equity and public health aspects are to be found in the entire special issue of the Journal of Transport Geography – definitely worth a read.


Just finished: NOFOMA 2012

NOFOMA 2012 went out with a bang. Suitably, the Nordic logistics conference was held on a vessel (part of the hotel was a cruise ship). The conference itself was quite a journey in time, it took us back to history – great playing cards and medieval banquet – as well as came back to the future, to trade and transport development to future Nokia phones.

And it was quite a package: “die hard” doctoral students followed a course before and another after the conference. But it was worth it:-) Check out the pics on the NOFOMA webpage!


“Women use cars for time management”

… would probably sum up this article (Jain et al., in press). Here’s the twist: The caring aspect of women may lead to the choice of other transportation modes (notably more sustainable ones) otherwise but is outweighed by the question of time management related to the schooling of dependent children. In other words, if you run back and forth to school and the hobbies of your kids (who doesn’t cry out loud at people calling that “logistics”?), you stop caring about the environment. Quite an issue to take into account from a sustainable behaviour perspective. I wonder how personal carbon emission budgets would affect this though.


PS. Loved the interesting method of the article though.

Gerontology meets transportation research

…at a conference on “aging, mobility and quality of life“. Couldn’t be more timely with all the discussion about ageing populations in quite some parts of the Northern hemisphere. Here in Finland the debate goes as far as to question our standard of living in the future due to population ageing. Somewhat related to such population trends (and the mainstream cluster discourse), Nikodemus Solitander just questioned why Finland would want to attract more knowledge workers given its overeducated population where one cannot find enough plumbers, construction workers, bus drivers and cashiers…

But back to transportation research, the conference reminds of some of the gender projects in transportation, e.g. of the World Bank, the European Commission, UNEP, ADB, IFRTD and alls sorts of other lovely acronym organisations. There is even a community of practice for people working in this field. Not as if these problems would have been resolved – far from it! – but it is time to take on also age discrimination as well as different mobility patterns on the research agenda.



Facility location in the middle of nowhere

Facility location has fascinated geographers, logisticians, and ultimately, supply chain researchers for a long time. There are all the obvious push and pull factors, proximity to suppliers and markets, transportation rates etc. But what do you do if you have some sort of reason to locate a facility in the middle of nowhere (or a legacy of being located in the middle of nowhere)? Jan Husdal has now explored this question in terms of “sparse transportation networks”. Here it is. Delightful reading.