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3.1 Introduction

The purpose of this chapter is to introduce the concept of green corridors and present a method for monitoring the performance of a freight transportation corridor in order to: (i) obtain a better understanding of its present status, (ii) identify areas for improvements, (iii) observe changes over time, and (iv) compare with benchmarks.

The basis of this material is work conducted in the context of the EU SuperGreen project and therefore the geographical setting of the chapter is Europe. Much of the material of the chapter is an expanded version of the so-called Green Corridors Handbook—Vol. I (Moyano et al., 2012) and Vol. II (Panagakos et al., 2012) published by SuperGreen. Shorter versions of this material have appeared in Panagakos and Psaraftis (2014) and Panagakos, Psaraftis, and Holte (2015).

The general objective of the SuperGreen project has been to support the development of sustainable transportation networks by fulfilling requirements covering environmental, technical, economic, social and spatial planning aspects. More specifically the project aimed at:

• giving overall support and recommendations on green corridors to the EU's

Freight Transport Logistics Action Plan,

• encouraging co-modality for sustainable solutions,

• benchmarking green corridors based on selected Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) covering all aspects of transportation operations and infrastructure (emissions, internal and external costs),

• conducting a programme of networking activities between stakeholders (public and private),

• delivering policy recommendations at a European level for advancing the development of green corridors, and

• providing recommendations concerning new calls for R&D proposals to support the development of green corridors.

This chapter attempts to clarify the concept of a green corridor as much as possible and present a methodology for monitoring its performance through a set of selected KPIs. Other work in the project is presented in other book chapters, and the basic identity of the project appears in Annex I to this book.

In terms of scope, it has to be clarified that the chapter deals only with surface freight transportation, noting however that the quality of transportation and logistics services is also affected by passenger transportation competing for route capacity. Aviation is outside the scope of this analysis (for this see Chap. 13), as is the use of pipelines for liquid cargoes.

The rest of this chapter is structured as follows. Section 3.2 discusses the physical and functional elements of a transportation corridor. Section 3.3 presents the available definitions of a green transportation corridor and explains the benefits associated with this concept in the search for win-win solutions. Section 3.4 provides a brief presentation of the most important green corridor projects in Europe. Sections 3.5 and 3.6 are devoted to monitoring a corridor's performance. The former presents the KPIs that SuperGreen and other projects have suggested, while the latter focuses on the relevant benchmarking methodology. The chapter ends with a set of guidelines for corridor benchmarking.

 
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