Attempts at reducing the externalities of freight transport in Europe are generally focused on the incorporation of a more significant use of rail into freight itineraries. One new scenario for increasing the share of rail in intermodal transport involves the development of a dedicated subnetwork of freight rail lines. Within this European Union project, the use of hub-and-spoke type networks, in combination with fixed-length shuttle services for freight, are under discussion. We present this innovative project and the proposed optimization model. The problem is cast as a nonlinear concave-cost hub location problem. A linearization procedure along with two efficient variable-reduction heuristics are proposed for its resolution, making use of recent results on polyhedral properties of this class of problems. Computational experience is provided on the European network of potential hub terminals.
INRIA Research Report, no. 4088, 78153 Le Chesnay France, 2000.