Freight transport, like all mobility, is changing due to increased focus on safety, efficiency and sustainability. Truck platooning and connected transport is seen as a means to reach safer, more efficient and sustainable freight transport. The Experience Week is part of the preparatory phase of the truck platooning pilot of the URSA MAJOR neo project. In this context the Experience Week Connected Transport was organised from 1 - 5 October 2018 in the Netherlands. This article presents a summary of the lessons learned during this week.
During the Experience Week 250 trucks of different transport companies tested the latest connected technology on public roads. This was the first time connected technology was tested on this scale, with regular drivers driving real time routes with loaded trucks. The latest connected technology systems contain trucks with adaptive cruise control (ACC), intelligent traffic control installations (iVRIs), in-car road works warnings and automated tire pressure measurement. During four showcases iVRIs, road works warning, convoy matching, tire pressure measurement and the gate-in/gate-out process were tested during day and night transport. The experiences gained in this week led to the formulation of six principles for connected transport:
1. Anticipate on the needs of the users: The needs of transport companies and shippers should be considered when designing the system as they are the ones that have to use them.
2. Start from the transport flow: Establishing end-to-end corridors will help all parties (transport companies, shippers, road authorities) to focus on the transport flow, bridging logistics and traffic management.
3. Central stage for the drivers: The opinions of truck drivers should be taken seriously, ask for their feedback, as they are the ones working daily with the system.
4. Think from the ecosystem: Problems could be solved on different levels. The Experience Week showed that the combination of convoys and iVRIs led to considerable fuel savings. This could be a trigger for accelerated implementation of the iVRIs by road authorities to reach their sustainability goals.
5. Don’t forget the secondary results: Platooning asks for more planning, standardisation and cooperation between different parties, leading to better performance throughout the logistics chain.
6. Design the system in cocreation: The showcases showed that the system can be designed on the drawing board, making the network approach crucial. Governments, entrepreneurs, education/research institutions and other actors like road users should all be involved in the cocreation of the design.
The Experience Week Connected Transport 2018 showed that connected transport has benefits for all parties, e.g. lower fuel consumption (one company claimed 6-14% fuel reduction), better traffic flow (green wave plus platooning resulted in 10-17% improvement), increased road safety (systems are 25-40 times more alert than drivers) and satisfied drivers. Thus making connected transport and truck platooning an important tool on the road to a safe, efficient and sustainable future.
For more information please download the full report (available only in Dutch).