Digital data sharing for green transport – a FEDERATED approach
Transport is, to a large extent, operated within a network of many different operators which cannot be governed or managed hierarchically. Nevertheless, coordination and synchronization are necessary between the actors and the different modes of transport to be efficient and sustainable.
Failure to do so results in delays, inefficient and unnecessary use of resources, negative impact on the environment, and low customer satisfaction. Historically, achieving the desired coordination and synchronization has been difficult because each actor involved has limited knowledge of the upstream progress and disruptions of others in the transport chain.
FEDeRATED, is the EU’s project for digital cooperation and is based on the building blocks for platform interoperability and digital data sharing as designed by the Digital Transport Logistic Forum (DTLF), is considered as the way forward.
Transporters are already turning to green electricity or other non-fossil fuels. The use of green energy sources leads to the need to provide suitable service stations to carriers. Initiatives are underway to establish such capabilities at transport nodes by making them “pit stops” for refueling carriers. This requires that information on energy supply and demand requirements be shared to support smart grids and load balancing. Digital data sharing and digital collaboration are essential enablers.
Transporters carrying partial loads result in the need for more transport platforms, which generates an increased carbon footprint, both in terms of fuel used and the resources required to build and operate a larger fleet of trucks, ships or wagons. Recycling and reuse of obsolete vehicles and their materials when building new ones is possible under the so-called circular economy if higher levels of digital data sharing exist.
More efficient loading and planning of existing transport platforms and improved synchronization can also be achieved by establishing common and shared situational awareness that enables sequential decision-making and efficient matching between available transport capacity and needs. In a comprehensive digital data sharing environment, it would be possible to adopt “just in time” approaches for transport node chains.
Green transport involves the many actors who co-produce value throughout the transport chain. They must jointly take responsibility for achieving the common good – which is the sustainability of our planet. While the productivity of capital is a concern of a single actor, overall energy efficiency and sustainability in the multimodal chain is a growing community concern that will only be addressed through collective and collaborative responsibility.
The collaborative, data-sharing and coordinated approach defined within the framework of the FÉDÉRÉS principles offers a win-win solution for both concerns.
This is a concise version of a longer article which can be found here.