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Will digitalization change freight transport?: Future scenarios for the digitized freight transport landscape with Sweden as a case study
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Centres, Integrated Transport Research Lab, ITRL.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2011-6273
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Centres, Integrated Transport Research Lab, ITRL.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7324-6691
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Geoinformatics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1164-8403
Scania CV AB.
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2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Digitalization generates many opportunities to improve efficiency and service levels. New technologies include e.g. automation, digitalized information flows, and AI and machine learning. There are several studies on digitalization and automation may affect passenger transport, but the research studies on the effects of digitalization on freight transport are still very limited.

In the EU, 75% of total freight ton-km are the result of road freight transport (Eurostat 2018). Heavy trucks generate around 17% of the CO2 emissions from all European road transport. The emissions from heavy trucks make up approximately 4% of the total CO2 emissions in the EU (European comission 2016). In Sweden, road freight transport is the dominating mode for domestic transport with almost 90% of the total goods volume being carried by trucks. Only in Stockholm, there are about 100 000 truck deliveries every week. Thus, road freight transport constitutes an important piece in a future sustainable transport system. At the same time, the industry is fragmented and low margin which leads to limited innovation capacity. There is potential for improvement for goods transport, but also barriers that may hinder the development.

What will happen with road freight transport in the era of digitalization? There are opportunities to increase efficiency by using data. It is also likely that digitalization, including increased e-commerce, will increase transport demand. This contributes with a set of future scenarios for digitalization of the road freight transport sector, including long haulage, city distribution and last mile deliveries to end users. Based on the scenarios the opportunities and barriers to reach a sustainable digitalized transport system are analyzed.

The scenarios form a platform for academia as well as public and private sector for strategic discussions and decisions. They also form a starting point for identifying knowledge gaps and future research questions. The scenarios are developed by using an explorative scenario development approach, the Intuitive Logic method. This approach is useful in situations when the future development is inherently uncertain and when there is not one determined future. Instead, there are several plausible futures which there is a value to explore in order to be prepared for future events and to improve the understanding of causal processes shaping the future. The work has been performed by an expert group and a smaller analysis team. The expert group involved more than 45 persons from more than 30 organizations, including municipalities, road authorities, vehicle manufacturers (large enterprises as well as start-ups), logistics companies, operators, transport buyers, ICT companies, and research organizations. The expert group met for three workshops, with the themes 1) trend analysis, 2) definition of strategic uncertainties and drafting scenarios, and 3) consequence analysis. The analysis team, consisting of the five authors and two future strategists, has analyzed, refined and condensed the material from the expert group.

In the work, the most important trends and uncertainties for the development of the digitalized road freight transport landscape are identified. Two strategic uncertainties are selected to form the basis for the scenarios. These axes are 1) whether the private sector or the public sector leads the development, and 2) whether climate actions and sustainability become the top priority on the political agenda and in society in general, or other goals (e.g. welfare, economy, immigration) are more important. These two axes are crossed to form four future scenarios. Examples of aspects that are different in the different scenarios are the development of circular economy, the development and implementation of automation, the structure of infrastructure investments, and the development of customer behavior. In the paper the scenarios are describe in more detail, including a narrative story. The consequences on the road freight transport sector in each scenario are analyzed, including perspectives such as: who are the main actors? What is the impact on business models and value distribution? Does the scenario lead to a sustainable development?

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
National Category
Transport Systems and Logistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-283944OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-283944DiVA, id: diva2:1475700
Conference
European Transport Conference ETC 2019
Note

The project was financed by Drive Sweden, QC 20201026

Available from: 2020-10-13 Created: 2020-10-13 Last updated: 2022-06-25Bibliographically approved

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Pernestål, AnnaEngholm, AlbinGidofalvi, Gyözö

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