Centre for Transport and Logistics (CENTRAL)

Where world-leading researchers collaborate to provide cutting-edge solutions in the area of transport and logistics.


Welcome to the Centre for Transport and Logistics (CENTRAL), a research centre at Lancaster University Management School. We work with colleagues across the University and an international network of researchers and students on CENTRAL’s world-leading research portfolio.

Our work focuses on finding new, sustainable solutions to supply chain and transport and logistics problems for companies, organisations, NGOs and policymakers around the world. Our research centre is making significant contributions to improving the movement of people and goods globally.

Real-world problems are increasingly complex and challenging so we are committed to an inter-disciplinary approach. The result is cutting-edge solutions that help organisations and societies to thrive. They include improving capacity and reducing delays at airports, increasing urban mobility through car-sharing, advancing urban goods distribution, and bettering community resilience and response to natural disasters.

We use predictive, descriptive and prescriptive analytics to improve the performance of transportation and logistical systems. Our approach provides huge opportunities for understanding and managing such systems.

Some of our research attracts funding from a range of public and private sources. Recently, this has included funding from the EU, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and private funding (from Rolls-Royce as part of the pioneering STOR-i doctoral training programme).

Our mission

We address problems in four areas: aviation and air transport; freight transport logistics; public and shared transport systems; and emergency response logistics.

We work closely with industry stakeholders, including governments, NGOs, policymakers, businesses and other academics, to provide insights and solutions that support critical decision-making.

LUMS building

Research themes

Current research projects

Current projects from the centre. You may also be interested in our completed projects.


    Improving airport capacity utilisation


    Improving maximum efficiency, to better serve air traffic demand.


    Boosting cooperation between public authorities and logistics stakeholders.


    Emergency response for large scale disaster


Coordination of Strategic and Tactical Interventions for Reducing Air Traffic Delays: A Case Study Based on Heathrow Airport (STIRAD)

The objectives of this project are:

  1. Develop a new model for airport slot allocation which combines a MILP model for minimising total schedule displacement with a stochastic, dynamic model for tactical aircraft sequencing, with modelling assumptions based on the situation at LHR.
  2. Implement an iterative solution algorithm and investigate the conditions required for the algorithm to converge to an optimal solution.
  3. Conduct an extensive computational study in order to evaluate and quantify the potential benefits of using this model, with a particular focus on expected reductions in air traffic delays and the resulting savings in CO2 emissions.
An aeroplane being loaded with freight


This is a KTP (Knowledge Transfer Partnership) funded project with the University of Nottingham, Optrak Distribution Software Limited and Lancaster University, entitled: "Developing and Implementing Novel and Advanced, Hyper-heuristics based Routing Technologies for Standard and Non-standard Haulage Markets". Optrak provides end-to-end vehicle routing and route optimisation software for transport managers and operational teams. The software saves Optrak's customers money, reduces their planning times, and improves customer service.

A key aspect of this project will be to transfer the latest science-based research in (meta/hyper-heuristic) optimisation to identify, implement and embed new technologies, practices and processes into the company for commercial delivery. This is a new and important role for Optrak, who are looking to enhance their Vehicle Routing Software for the logistics industry.

Team Members


A programme run by Lancaster University, in partnership with universities in Kent and Southampton to support developing capacity in Operational Research for universities in Southeast Asia as they work towards the achievement of their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Visit the project's dedicated website for more information

CREST-OR website
Cambodia by night


Discover the latest updates from the Centre

Events in the Centre

For our activities to date, please visit our events archive.

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