One of the key tasks of the Forum is to develop “roadmaps” in areas of great significance for the transport sector. These can cover everything from the potential for large-scale electrification of road transport to developing new fuels or designing the bus systems of the future.
Our roadmaps are drawn up by stakeholders from different parts of the transport system. The aim is for each group to prepare a report shedding light on the area concerned from a variety of angles, while identifying problems and opportunities and describing the way forward.
Since the Forum was established, its working groups have completed nine roadmaps, with work currently under way on another two. Here is a brief presentation of all the roadmaps initiated by the Forum.
Roadmaps – completed
Electrification of Road Transport
The electrification of road transport is a global growth area, driven by a wide range of stakeholders. The aims are to make the sector more energy-efficient and find sustainable energy carriers.
For cars and urban public transport, electrified solutions are already being developed. But if electrification of road transport is to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, it also needs to extend to heavy goods traffic. With the collaborative arrangements already in place, Swedish industry has considerable potential to take a lead internationally in this area.
Sweden also has the advantage that its automotive, energy and telecommunications industries are at the forefront of most areas of technology needed to electrify road transport. Investments in this field could help to meet the country’s transport policy objectives, as well as having a beneficial impact on Swedish industry.
Bus Systems of the Future
Efficient public transport is fundamental to a sustainable transport system. Urbanisation, both in Sweden and internationally, poses a growing challenge in terms of transport solutions for our cities. Using buses, there is a potential to develop more efficient public transport at limited cost.
Historically, little has been done to develop the capacity of bus services. Only in recent years have systems with dedicated busways become more widespread. An efficient bus system of the future must offer improved levels of service. The Forum has therefore drawn up a roadmap designed to put Sweden at the forefront of this field. One of the aims is to prepare for large-scale trials.
The Green Train Concept – Next Steps
Future transport systems need to include, as a major component, well-functioning rail services for long-distance passenger travel. Considerable potential exists to make trains more attractive, reduce costs, make better use of trains on existing tracks, and cut energy consumption.
Work in this area is relevant to achieving transport-efficient use of vehicles and infrastructure. As part of the “Green Train” project, a concept has been developed, built around ideas and technical solutions to develop high-speed trains in a Nordic climate. The concept sets out a number of functional requirements for the trains of the future, as a complement to pan-European standards.
This roadmap focuses on introducing solutions that will improve aerodynamics, increase acceleration, cut journey times and reduce energy consumption.
Information – and the ways in which it is delivered and used – is crucial in improving the efficiency of transport. Different parts of the transport sector have advanced to differing degrees in their use of information. We see this, for example, in the area of traffic management. Development efforts are currently under way at a European level to establish common management systems within different modes of transport.
One purpose of this roadmap is to show how traffic management solutions can be used cross-modally, how they can be divided between modes, and what benefits can be achieved by coordination. Other aims are to develop existing traffic management systems in each transport mode and to make transport more efficient around nodes/hot spots. Enhanced knowledge transfer between modes – and greater joint use of knowledge – could strengthen Swedish industry and Swedish service providers.
High Capacity Transport (HCT) involves the introduction of vehicles with a higher capacity, that is, longer and heavier vehicles able to carry larger volumes of goods. Through more efficient use of infrastructure, this will enable existing capacity to be better utilised. At the same time, the need for investments in new infrastructure will be reduced. This area has links to transport-efficient use of vehicles and infrastructure, and to energy efficiency and sustainable drivetrains.
High Capacity Transport offers productivity gains in industry, lower energy consumption per tonne of freight carried, and reduced emissions, especially of carbon dioxide. It has the potential to strengthen Sweden’s competitiveness, partly by helping to make transport more cost-effective, in particular for the transport-intensive forest and mining industries. HCT could also be a future export area for the Swedish automotive sector.
The low energy consumption of railways has resulted in growing demand from industry for rail and intermodal transport. However, the sector has not always been able to deliver sufficiently efficient and high-quality solutions. Developing rail transport is a matter of both organisation and technology. Sweden has been a pioneer in deregulation of the railways, with the aim of achieving a more efficiently organised and market-oriented system.
Green, efficient freight trains can increase capacity by having “more freight on wagons and more wagons in the train”. More efficient planning and higher-quality transport, moreover, allow better use to be made of infrastructure. This area has links to transport-efficient use of vehicles and infrastructure, and to energy efficiency and sustainable drivetrains.
Drivers of Innovation in a Deregulated Rail Market
The Forum has identified innovation as a key factor in enabling the transport sector to meet the challenges of the future. The institutional structure needs to be designed in such a way as to give companies, government agencies, other organisations and individuals incentives to be innovative.
The railways are one area in which innovation could prove of great importance. Deregulation has created new conditions for this. One of the challenges is that a large number of stakeholders have to interact in a system in which the institutional conditions and ground rules are unclear. A lack of clear ground rules increases the risks and may result in investments failing to materialise.
Connected and Cooperative Transport
That the vehicles of the future will be connected to the Internet, and also directly to each other, is a prediction few would doubt. The trend is indisputably in that direction, and the major breakthrough is expected when fifth generation (5G) mobile networks are launched in a few years’ time. This is a change that will revolutionise the transport sector. When all the vehicles using our roads communicate their presence to each other, transport will become more efficient, safety will improve and environmental impacts will be reduced.
IT solutions of various kinds, therefore, are also important to the Forum for Innovation in the Transport Sector. All the different roadmaps which the Forum has initiated have to address this issue in one way or another. Given the complexity of the subject, however, our working groups cannot all have expertise of their own in this area. That is why the Forum has now developed a special roadmap for the IT sector, which all the other roadmaps will be able to draw on. Titled “Connected and Cooperative Transport”, it has been prepared by representatives of the automotive sector, government agencies and the telecommunications industry.
“City logistics” is about finding effective forms of freight transport for urban areas. The aim is that movements of goods should support economic, social and cultural development, without adverse effects in the form of traffic congestion, noise or environmental impacts. The challenge is to find solutions capable of handling both increased transport needs and growing demand from urban populations for space for housing, places of work and meeting places.
The question has attracted mounting interest in recent years, prompting an increasing number of stakeholders to get involved. At the same time, as our cities continue to grow, urban logistics is becoming ever more demanding. More efficient freight transport is essential if urban areas are to contribute to economic growth.
The City Logistics roadmap presents a series of problems, but also opportunities, in the short, medium and long term. A basic condition for finding positive solutions is that public authorities assume a more active role.
Roadmaps – in progress
Alternative fuels have long been one of the most discussed areas of development in the transport sector. Interest in the question is driven above all by the sector’s heavy dependence on fossil fuels, and the environmental consequences of that dependence. This area is clearly linked to the search for greater energy efficiency and sustainable energy carriers.
Primarily, alternative fuels have been discussed in relation to the road sector. However, new regulations on sulphur emissions in the Baltic Sea have made the fuel issue a focus of attention in the area of shipping as well. The Forum has therefore initiated the development of a roadmap pursuing the question of methanol as a fuel, in the light of the needs of shipping.
Public Transport as a Basic Principle in Spatial Planning
Properly functioning public transport is fundamental both to a sustainable transport system and to the development of attractive cities and regions. To realise the potential of public transport, we need a spatial planning framework that more consistently makes it a priority than is the case today. One challenge is to create settlement and transport structures that can provide stable passenger demand and permit rapid and efficient public transport at a reasonable cost.
We know a great deal about how communities and the built environment need to be planned to create conditions for better-functioning public transport, but it has been difficult putting these ideas into practice. The aim of the Public Transport roadmap is to identify measures that will speed the process of making public transport a basic principle in spatial planning.
The roadmap will result in a number of concrete proposals on how we can develop a public transport system that will help to reduce our environmental and climate impacts. To achieve that goal, there needs to be broad collaboration, willingness to act, commitment and political courage. The roadmap is intended to help bring about a transition to a sustainable transport system.