Motorway, Berlin. © Fotolia / elxeneize

The mobility of the future will be digitally networked

Thanks to intelligent transport systems, consumers, the environment, infrastructure and resources can be significantly relieved in the future. That is why the BDI is convinced the mobility of the future will be digitally networked.

Improving traffic flows, increasing comfort, simplifying maintenance, making greater use of the potential of every mode of transport, optimizing networking, promoting travel that is as smooth and safe as possible – digital technologies are a decisive driving force for all of these developments. Digital solutions open up new choice options for customers. Ticketing by mobile phone for various modes of transport via intermodal mobility platforms makes it possible for users to search for the solution that suits best – and to pay for it online.

Digitally supported freight transport permits more efficient transport chains with an intelligent combination of the respective optimum transport mode. The intelligence of the components is also becoming more and more important. In rail transport it will be possible in future not only to track the location of individual carriages but also to determine the technical condition of parts subject to wear and tear. As a result, railway companies can carry out precision-fit servicing. That boosts safety and cuts costs.

Indispensable for all these new solutions are state-of-the-art broadband networks, comprehensive and reliable data on vehicles and infrastructure, interoperability and data security.

It is precisely the mobility and logistics sector that ranks internationally among the flagships of German industry. Many enterprises stand for globally leading top technology with out-standing innovative force. In hardly any other area the potentials of digital solutions are so great and the competitive position of German firms are so good as in mobility. But there is no let-up in the steady growth of global competition. For industry the task must therefore be to work on gaining a lead in competences at an early stage and to open up new markets for innovative technologies that are “made in Europe”. That is why the policy-makers and the business community are jointly called on to act.

The BDI recommends the following measures for the networked mobility of tomorrow:

  • Optimizing the cooperation between the state and industry: that means putting forward a comprehensive concept for all modes of transport with concrete framework conditions for the greater use of intelligent transport systems and a definition of responsibilities. For certain areas, where individual cases still await definition, it makes sense to create an Open Data approach.
  • Promoting standardization and research in the EU: that means supporting ongoing processes through the harmonization of intermodal information services, through the secured interoperability of applications and systems, through an appropriate and temporarily limited promotion of key technologies in market launch, through the dissemination of best practice examples or through the digital toughening up of the TEN-T infrastructure by means of funds from the CEF (Connecting Europe Facility).
  • Adjusting the legal framework for digital vehicles: that means creating suitable legal framework conditions for the introduction of the technology, bolstering promotion and demonstration projects and clarifying important issues with regard to data protection and data security.
  • Continuing the development of digitization in rail transport: that means pushing ahead with research initiatives, creating stronger incentives by the European Union for conversion to a uniform “European Rail Traffic Management System” (ERTMS) and speedily achieving a minimum stock of ERTMS-capable routes and trains.
  • Optimizing data exchange in maritime transport: this means establishing the cooperation of all relevant actors along the maritime supply chain and implementing rapidly and completely the digitally supported EU project “Blue Belt”.
  • Improving the technological framework conditions for air transport and aerospace: that means consistently implementing the civil aviation strategy and stepping up research promotion along with a uniformly standardized exchange of data between air freight shippers and carriers. The policy-makers are called upon to create the regulatory preconditions for the operation of unmanned airborne craft in the controlled airspace and to press ahead nationally, in Europe and internationally with the strategic alignment of German aerospace.