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Production Systems, Logistics, Transport Organization and Work

Presentation of the SPLOTT research laboratory

The Production Systems, Logistics, Transport Organization and Work Laboratory (SPLOTT) was set up in 2005.

Its current director is Francois Combes.

SPLOTT’s research deals with systems, covering the interactions of transport with production, territorial, institutional and social systems. These interactions testify to the embeddedness of transport in a variety of contexts.

The main areas of research

The laboratory is active in four main areas:

  • The first provides an understanding of how logistics and the production systems of shippers and transport operators influence the nature of transport services and vice-versa.
  • The second area investigates how transport and logistics activities are linked to jobs and work
  • The third area is concerned in particular with the way nodes – sea ports, airports, inland ports, rail terminals and logistics hubs – contribute to the operation and competitiveness of different regions, especially metropolitan regions. The issue of city logistics and urban freight transport is consequently of central importance to this area.
  • The fourth area investigates how public action can influence freight transport and the ways such action can be implemented. 

The diagram below summarises these four areas of research:

 the four areas of research

The production of transport involves several groups of stakeholders: shippers (industrial or retail for example) which generate the freight, transport undertakings and intermediaries which are involved in organising its transport or which provide logistics services (freight handling, warehousing, …), the professionals who organise these services and finally institutional partners (infrastructure managers, local authorities…). To analyse the conditions of transport production it is necessary to take account of all of these stakeholders and consider their requirements and constraints.
In addition, freight transport takes place in geographical areas, according to the location of the principal markets, of production and/or consumption which generate and receive flows of goods, of the hierarchy of locations which make up the areas and the relationships between these places, at different geographical scales. In its turn, freight transport also plays a part in organising and transforming geographical areas.

SPLOTT’s research methods are multidisciplinary, combining economics, planning, geography and sociology and ergonomics with a view to understanding the interactions, or even the tensions that exist between freight transport and production, spatial, institutional and social systems.

The approach that has been developed at SPLOTT has both a theoretical and empirical element, which it explores using qualitative and quantitative surveys, to produce studies whose findings are intended to inform public debates and public policies in the area of transport and regional planning.