Dynamics of freight transport decarbonisation: A conceptual model

Verônica Ghisolfi*, Lorant Antal Tavasszy, Gonçalo Homem de Almeida Rodriguez Correia , Gisele de Lorena Diniz Chaves, Glaydston Mattos Ribeiro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
105 Downloads (Pure)


As part of the global efforts to mitigate climate change, policymakers are designing measures to reduce the carbon emissions of the freight transport system. As global agreements for decarbonisation specify strict time windows, it is important to understand the speed at which the transport system is capable of changing. Our paper proposes a causal loop diagram based on System Dynamics that qualitatively maps the system’s causal and dynamic responses to five key decarbonisation strategies. As the main contribution, this conceptual model provided a broad overview of the freight system, formed by subsystems that interact with each other through feedback loops, forming its dynamic behaviour. Through this conceptual modelling effort, we can identify the rebound effects of policies over the whole system, which could defeat the desired decarbonisation results. The model pointed out policies and feedback loops as the dynamic levers to promote freight decarbonisation and influence the system’s dynamic responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-257
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Simulation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • causal loop diagram
  • decarbonisation
  • Freight transport
  • low-carbon freight
  • system dynamics


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