Technology
10.12.2018 //
Text:
Kari Martiala

Intelligent transport is coming

Travel will be revolutionised in the coming decades. – “The digitalisation of traffic in this decade and the next will be as much of a turning point as the introduction of the railway system was in the past”, says Ulla Tapaninen from the Economic Division of the city of Helsinki.

Digitalisation has already shaped many other sectors and achieved a jump in productivity. However, according to Ulla Tapaninen, the head of the Economic Division unit of the City of Helsinki, the changes caused by digitalisation have only just begun.

– “Transport will become more independent, smarter, and better adapted to the consumer’s needs. An intelligent transport system uses the methods of information and communication technology to improve the transport system’s functionality”, Tapaninen describes.

The technological development of automation, robotics, and sensors supports the breakthrough of intelligent traffic. 

More efficient traffic control

Intelligent transport is often divided into three categories: more efficient traffic control, development of automated traffic, and transport as a service. These can be implemented simultaneously or separately.

In her book Logistiikka ja liikennejärjestelmät (en: Logistics and Transport Systems), Tapaninen describes how intelligent transport allows for real-time traffic planning and control. Thus, traffic does not have to be planned beforehand based on actual and projected forecasts, and the planning and control happens in real time instead. 

– Every traveller and driver can constantly update their own route choices, schedules, and weather and traffic data. This data can also be shared with other travellers, says Tapaninen. 

When will intelligent chains happen?

Digitalisation transforms the entire logistical chain. However, the realisation of an intelligent chain at a large scale still awaits financially viable solutions. 

–The change in the logistical chain does not depend on technology because that is already available, but rather a change of strategy. Development will certainly progress once companies recognise the paths forward that benefit them from a business perspective. To speed up the change, it is crucial to understand what has slowed down the development thus far”, says Sinikka Hartonen, the Senior Advisor at the Finnish Shipowners’ Association. 

In order for an intelligent chain to function as a whole as effectively as possible, each operator must participate in the development even if it doesn’t bring immediate financial results to everyone. Value accumulates differently in each node of the logistical chain.

–Every operator may not immediately gain obvious and immediate benefits. Operators should join in to enable the creation of an intelligent network, as value will accumulate over time as you work as part of the network.

Intelligent logistics solutions also provide opportunities to meet environmental requirements by, for instance, optimising the transport chain.