Mobility may be seen as a cornerstone or supportive element for a well-functioning society. Being one or another, transport causes around 20 % of the CO2 emissions globally. In order to reach the EU level and Paris agreement emission reduction targets, it is essential to look at the ways citizens, companies and governments may reduce the overall emissions.

However, it isn’t black and white. If we focus only on reducing emissions, societies may end up with less innovations and life may become complicated. In the core of Traffic Lab, which is an open forum for new trials and mobility services and coordinated by Finnish Transport Safety Agency, are innovations and new services. To know the impacts, these new services should be turned from plans into real environment. That’s why trials are essential.

The latest business-driven concept which has been enabled in Traffic Lab is Corridor as a Service.

What is Corridor as a Service?

Corridor as a Service looks to achieve more efficient and safer logistics. This can be reached through digital services and digitalisation of the logistics chain, multimodal goods transport and new innovations in the vehicle or by implementing infrastructure that focuses on how to serve international logistics more effectively. These new value adding services may improve logistics especially from a Scandinavian point of view, but also international commerce on the larger scale.

Corridor as a Service is developed in Finland in an open ecosystem towards a solution which is beneficial both for the private and public sector. The public sector is willing to enable growth to the society and at the same time supports initiatives and innovations which cause less emission. The wide target such as seamless logistics cannot be reached alone. Cooperations make the results more efficient.

In the ecosystem different sectors each have their role – the public sector focuses on the policy and decision making, the research gives input to integrate exploration into business and business and the private sector is focusing on creating customer value.

Could Finland or Europe be a forerunner or a hub to smart logistics? To answer this a feasibility study coordinated by VTT is being carried out at the moment. This study seeks to map out the operators and functionalities which have the potential for developing the reliability, speed, transparency, quality, costs and resource efficiency of logistics. Based on this preliminary assessment, a new operating model will be developed.

While CaaS development is driven by companies, the public sector facilitates it. It is supported by the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Finnish Transport Safety Agency Trafi, the Finnish Transport Agency, Finnish custom, the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, Growth Corridor Finland, the Regional Council of South Karelia and the cities Turku, Vantaa, Tampere and Imatra.

How can companies and customers benefit from CaaS?

For businesses, CaaS offers opportunities for developing both existing and new forms of business activities, for improving transport operations and for networking. For supplier companies, CaaS offers opportunities to develop and enhance current business with new business cases and collaboration initiatives.

In March, the Finnish company Vediafi got national start-up funding from Business Finland and it is now building its own service portfolio. Vediafi is now the first CaaS service provider and will start CaaS services from the beginning of 2019. Together with the PPP partners Vediafi is now looking for collaboration partners to join the CaaS-Net ecosystem.

For customers CaaS aims to provide new value adding logistics services, which will improve the efficiency and productivity of the services. These services focus on transparency and tracking of logistics chains, privilege driving in certain points such as customs and safety and security issues of logistic. It is being estimated that CaaS may bring at least 10 % productivity improvements and significant fuel savings.

 What does CaaS mean for cities and research?

Corridor as a Service will increase attractiveness of the city with better accessibility and more efficient services. While the CaaS concept combines different technologies, cities are crucial environments, where the use cases can be found. Even though the CaaS concept focuses mainly on goods transport, in the future it may also serve passenger transport as the same intelligent technologies will be used for both modes.

CaaS is combining new technological solutions in a business environment. All these changes must be validated and the impacts analysed. Thus it is clear that research institutes are contributing and cooperation between research and businesses are needed when integrating the new technologies, even though at the moment CaaS is driven by business sector.

What is next? The work towards smoother logistics continues with interviews, discussions with companies and active communication to find common tools and means to pilot the new service in real environment. One example is a trip to Brussels that Traffic Lab has recently organised. During this trip some of the companies from the Traffic Lab network visited EU institutions and organizations and met policy makers and influencers. At the meetings companies presented their services, Finnish know-how and opportunities at EU level. It goes without saying that Corridor as a Service was one of the topics discussed there!

Traffic Lab network during a visit in Brussels. From the left: Noora Lähde – Trafi, Heikki Sorasahi – Sitra, Tuomo Parjanen – iQ Payments, Matti Lankinen – Vediafi, Jukka Merenluoto – DIMECC, Juha Kenraali – Trafi, Lasse Nykänen – VTT

Author: Noora Lähde, Finnish Transport Safety Agency Trafi

Photo credit: Finnish Transport Safety Agency Trafi