Sustainable Transport and Logistics

In the Sustainable Transport & Logistics department, we help make the transportation of goods and people more efficient and sustainable. In the logistics sector, we help accelerate innovation by conducting practical trials with companies. For sustainable mobility, we conduct research into emissions and energy consumption of vehicles and vessels. With our knowledge we offer short- and long-term action perspectives for policymakers, companies and consumers.


The Logistics team develops knowledge and methods for intelligent and sustainable logistics flows. We are working on the strategy for the main port region of the future as a hub in global supply chains, on the use of ICT to enable logistics chains to function optimally and on the design, management and planning of joint logistics processes. For this we use methods such as serious gaming, living labs and transport models.

Our goal is to contribute to a seamlessly connected logistics system that is more efficient, creates new business and significantly reduces CO2 emissions. We do this by enabling, applying and stimulating logistics concepts. Our focus is on the following three topics:

Automated and self-organising logistics
An important vision of the future is that the logistics system will show an increasing degree of self-organisation. We are working on that vision of the future and how we can create an action perspective in the logistics sector to be well prepared for this future. For example, by using experiments to show if, and how, automation and self-organisation work. In doing so, we are working on the far-reaching automation of logistics, such as the autonomous ports, truck platooning and self-organisation. This concerns issues such as 'what does it mean for parties in logistics if a parcel in a container routes itself all over the world to the front door of the consumer's home'. With our knowledge of these innovations, we help logistics parties to take the right steps and to respond intelligently to the future.

Data driven logistics
Research by TNO shows that sharing data throughout the entire logistics chain pays off. By combining and enriching all the available data on cargo offered and the availability of trucks, aircraft, trains and ships, we can make transport much more efficient and make logistics chains function optimally. It can also contribute to making the logistics sector robust against continuously faster changes. We show this in demonstrator projects at corridor level, but also at the operational level of individual logistics parties.

Transition to CO2-neutral logistics
We offer industry and government insight, and thus action perspectives, for reducing CO2 emissions in the logistics chain with a viable business case. A combination of measures is necessary to achieve the Paris target; technological measures alone are not enough. We develop and accelerate innovative logistics solutions, which can often only be realised if the chain of logistics parties works together. For example, to increase the load factor through chain cooperation and synchromodal planning, reduction of vehicle kilometres with the introduction of building logistics innovations such as a hub on the outskirts of the city, in combination with the use of zero emission vehicles in urban logistics.

Sustainable Mobility

The Sustainable Mobility team conducts projects in the field of clean and economical road vehicles. Our projects on clean and economical vehicles consist of computation projects in which we measure vehicle emissions, and consultancy projects in which we advise various public authorities on making the vehicle fleet cleaner and more economical. The heart of our work consists of collecting, linking, enriching and interpreting vehicle data (emissions and behaviour). The knowledge that we gain with this, we secure in our models. Based on this knowledge and these models we advise our customers, with a focus is on the following three topics:

Field emissions from vehicles and vessels
TNO is a leading knowledge party in the Netherlands and Europe in the field of practical emissions from traffic and transport. For years, we have been measuring emissions from motor vehicles on the road under real conditions. This shows that there is often still a gap between the legal standards and the actual emissions. The results of these studies are helping the authorities to legislate better for clean and fuel-efficient cars and to enforce the legislation. With our advanced measuring and analysis methods, we also help manufacturers to use real-world data to make their vehicles as clean and economical as possible.

Transition to CO2-neutral mobility
Mobility accounts for a large proportion of our CO2 footprint. In order to achieve the climate objectives of the Paris Agreement, we need a drastic change in our mobility system. This transition requires the smart use of a combination of measures and many sustainable technologies. Some technologies will make a temporary contribution to the 'decarbonisation' of mobility while others have yet to be developed. With our in-depth knowledge of the mobility system and our models that take into account the relationship between the effects of various measures, we advise government and industry on how they can accelerate the transition to CO2-neutral mobility.

Clean and economical mobility in cities
With our knowledge of practical emissions and the transition to CO2 neutral mobility, we help cities find measures to make their mobility systems more sustainable. On the basis of fleet scans, we can make a statement about the current emissions from urban traffic and indicate which measures in the traffic or the fleet have what result. We offer cities tools, insight and roadmaps for the transition to clean and CO2 neutral mobility.

Expertise groups