Standardized cargo transportation (containerization) has transformed the world and greatly increased transportation efficiencies. However, the ISO shipping container has only solved a portion of the overall transportation puzzle. Shipping containers are excellent for long haul moves, but are not as effective for the last few miles where product is often delivered in small batches. At the present time there is development and convergence of new technologies that, when properly integrated, can result in transportation efficiency increases that will surpass the efficiency gains achieved with the shipping container. Central to these developments is autonomous driving, but if autonomous driving is developed outside of a consolidated transportation system approach, autonomous driving is more likely to result in reduced efficiencies (such as measured by carbon footprint per person) rather than increased efficiencies. A system wide approach will be discussed in this paper and it will be shown that minor standardization efforts will resolve a multitude of transportation challenges not just for cargo but also for passenger transportation. The standard is five feet width for any rolling equipment that is used in this integrated system. This width would be adopted for automobiles and delivery trucks that move people and short haul cargo. There are two approaches for instituting this system. One would be by top-down regulatory (political) implementation. However, just like the implementation of containerization by Malcolm McLean, there could very well be applications that, when implemented on a relatively small scale, could result in organic growth and worldwide acceptance through private investment without specific regulatory force. In particular, ferry transportation, whether passenger or cargo, could be the core of a commercially driven implementation process.
Containerization V2.0 The Adoption of a Five-Foot Standard Width for Short Distance Cargo and Passenger Transportation
van Hemmen, Hendrik F. "Containerization V2.0 The Adoption of a Five-Foot Standard Width for Short Distance Cargo and Passenger Transportation." Paper presented at the SNAME Maritime Convention, Bellevue, Washington, USA, November 2016.
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