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Modal decisions in the logistics sector

Austria, Europe, and ultimately the entire world is faced with the challenging task of keeping global warming to a minimum or, in the best case, even reversing it. The transport sector accounts for 29% of Austria's total greenhouse gas emissions and is thus a critical contributor to climate change. Previous approaches to solutions in the transport sector have concentrated on the efficiency principle or the consistency principle. The sufficiency principle as the third pillar of sustainability has so far been disregarded, although it is becoming increasingly clear that efficiency and consistency strategies are not enough to achieve sustainability goals and must therefore be supplemented by sufficiency strategies.


For the logistics sector, this means that modal decisions must be questioned. Decision making in the logistics sector (e.g. choice of means of transport) is a very controversial topic, as it is often not comprehensible to outsiders. On the one hand, it is argued that decisions are made purely rationally, while on the other hand, low-cost means of transport (rail, inland waterways), for example, are far from being used as much as could be expected. It is therefore reasonable to assume that certain behavioural patterns underlie modal decisions which go beyond rational criteria (availability, time requirements, punctuality, safety, flexibility) and have not yet been sufficiently researched. Since it is known from numerous studies that different groups of people (e.g. women vs. men, young vs. older people) have different behaviour patterns on topics such as the environment or transport, it can be assumed that different groups of people make different modal decisions in logistics as well. However, there have not been any studies on this so far.

The one-year exploratory study "ModEL", which is funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency FFG and the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) in the research programme "Mobility of the Future", addresses precisely this research gap.

In "ModEL", preparatory work is being carried out for the consideration of various influencing factors in the area of gender and diversity in order to be able to apply precise measures in the future that promote sufficient behaviour in the logistics sector. For this purpose, market areas are defined in which the exact investigation of target group-specific measures is useful in order to initiate a change in behaviour. Furthermore, use cases will be identified, a survey methodology will be developed to disclose the decision-making process and a first pilot survey will be conducted, measures for behavioural change will be outlined and finally RTI potentials will be summarized. A gender expert will be involved in every step of the scientific project to ensure that gender mainstreaming is anchored in the work packages. The core result will be gender-specific findings on the behaviour of different groups of people in the area of modal decisions in the logistics sector.