Purpose This chapter discusses a central aspect of freight transport – capacity utilisation with a link to empty running of commercial freight vehicles. Methodology/approach The paper provides an overview of the literature on these topics and groups the contributions into two segments according to their analytical approach and origin of research. Findings The first approach looks at utilisation based on economic theories such as the firms’ objective to maximise profitability and considers how various firm and haul (market) characteristics influence utilisation. The second approach stems from the transport modelling literature and its main aim is analysing vehicle movement and usage in transport demand modelling context. A strand of this second group of contributions is the modelling of trip-chain and its implication on the level of capacity utilisation. Research limitations The review is not a comprehensive review, but includes findings to underline the points presented in the paper. Practical implication A key lesson from the reviewed studies is that it is important to take into account the commercial activity that initiates vehicle movements to evaluate performance. It appears that there is room for further enrichment of the modelling exercise by incorporating information regarding the operator to give a stronger behavioural basis for the vehicle movements and utilisation analysis. Originality/value This paper identifies different approaches and shed light on potential gains that can be achieved by combining different strands of this literature.
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Strategisk forskning i transport og infrastruktur, 2013