The development of underground freight transport: An overview

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Today, transportation of freight by trucks and vans faces congestion within most of the urbanized areas around the world, making supply chains less efficient and causing air pollution, noise, reducing traffic safety and also contributing to climate change. Underground freight transport (UFT) can be an alternative for, but also an addition to existing transport modes for freight, like road, rail and waterborne. It combines the advantages of taking the traffic movements underground and applying electrical (or linear induction) propulsion, with a lower (local) environmental burden and the economic advantages of unimpeded automated transport over a dedicated infrastructure that is separated from passenger traffic. Through the years, initiatives haven been taken to develop underground freight transport systems for different purposes in the USA, Europe and Asia. This paper describes the different initiatives, the benefits and costs and the type of applications. The paper ends with the conclusion that UFT is ready to be implemented but there are points of attention. We are dealing with a process of prolonged efforts on the part of the government and the private sector, which requires long-term commitment and high financial resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-127
Number of pages5
JournalTunnelling and Underground Space Technology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Capsules
  • Pipelines
  • Underground freight transport


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