Minister Berner: The future of infrastructure development has begun - Innovative and intelligent solutions as integral TEN-T components. 22 June 2015

Minister Berner: The future of infrastructure development has begun - Innovative and intelligent solutions as integral TEN-T components. 22 June 2015

Anne Berner, Minister of Transport and Communications of Finland
TEN-T Days, Riga, 22 June 2015

The future of infrastructure development has begun
Innovative and intelligent solutions as integral TEN-T components

Dear ministers, dear colleagues,

We are stepping into the age of digitalization. I would say finally, because technology has been there already for years.

Digitalization has already had major consequences particularly in media, entertainment industry and trade. It has led to redistribution in the markets and in some cases to disappearance of traditional business models.

Digitalization is also changing the transport sector with a force.

Digitalization is changing the way people live their lives, consume and spend their free time; business models of the industry are going through a change because of the digitalization. When everything is changing around it, also the transport sector has to change.

Digitalization offers a huge variety of possibilities that can be taken advantage of; what can be achieved when goods, people, vehicles and infrastructure are in constant connection to each other? All this is based on the utilization of data; data has become the fifth mode of transport.

The challenges we are facing in transport are far from being solved. In the future, problems will be even bigger; globally, traffic jams are getting into an intolerable level; the objectives to tackle climate change are ever harder to reach.

Globally we now have 1 billion cars. This will double in the next 10 years and the estimated number of vehicles by 2050 is 4 billion cars. At the same time car utilization rate is on average under 5% and each car has on average only 1,2 people on board per time. This all equals to a global transportation crisis, but at the same time it also creates huge potential for increased efficiency and for new markets.

As usual the technology is at the same time part of the problem but also one of the solutions. Innovative and intelligent solutions are vital for the whole transport sector and modern technology is an integral component of TEN-T network.

When we talk about TEN-T, it has traditionally been only about infrastructure. However, as the end-users of transport services - citizens and the industry - become accustomed to different digital services and apps, transport networks must also properly respond to these changing needs of end-users. In Europe we have made some steps towards information society in transport, but it is still only at the very start.

The capacity of the existing infrastructure must be taken fully in use.

This includes that we have to take good care of our existing infrastructure; invest in maintenance and in updating the infrastructure to meet the requirements of digitalization, automation and predictive traffic management.

But here also, we have to be brave to prioritize and focus on the essential infrastructure!

To reduce congestion and improve safety, we need better traffic management and control systems in all transport modes. However, it should be born in mind that ultimately, innovative solutions and effective transport services are in the hands of the private sector. The market is the driver and the public sector's role is to be enabler.

In the implementation of digitalized systems in the infrastructure, we must take into account the fact that normally the benefits are calculated for the following 30 years:
- information technology facilities might be about 3 years,
- vehicles from 10 to 30 years and
- infrastructure more than 30 years.

What happens to those benefits, when fully automated vehicles start circulating on our roads? What happens, when already in the next decade all vehicles are connected to the internet and people's mobility isn't anymore based on personally owned vehicles?

How should we include this in the concrete actions that we are taking?

In parallel with digitalization, automation is the trend number one of today's world and Finland wants to be the forerunner in promotion of automation in transport.

Transport is one of the obvious sectors that is able to utilize and benefit from the automation. There has been a lot of talking about the driverless cars, but automation will cover all transport modes and cargo handling in ports and terminals. In aviation and maritime sector automation is already used in a high decree, but there is still a lot to do.

We have a special theme in the TEN-T: namely the European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS). It is highly important that we accelerate the implementation of ERTMS. If we can not speed up the implementation, there is a risk that heavy goods vehicles are circulating driverless on our roads before the trains! At the same time, we have to make sure that ERTMS rules allow the development and deployment of new, more efficient and more affordable technologies!

The information technology should be part of all TEN-T infrastructure networks in all transport modes. Vehicles might move autonomously, but in order to avoid a chaos, infrastructure managers must be able to manage the traffic. So the TEN-T infrastructure should fulfil strict quality requirements relating to monitoring, controlling, charging and informing users.

To respond to user needs and to ensure co-modality, there should be an interface between the systems of all transport modes.

Transport systems should be seen rather as an ever-evolving ecosystem than a static system managed in silos. That enables access to traffic information through the whole transport chain and seamless, door-to-door mobility services for end-users. However, the market, that is private service providers, should be left to take care of these services.
The best option is to start the exercise with the Core network corridors. Common interfaces and definitions between the infrastructure management systems and traffic control centres in all transport modes and along the whole corridor are needed. It is important that solutions are technology neutral. Mobile technology and replacing outdated components with new ones should be preferred, because fixing rapidly ageing technology in the infrastructure leads easily to unnecessary investments.

Infrastructure is still only a starting point. The huge potential for growth, for new business opportunities and for increased efficiency lies in transport services market. We have launched the concept of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) that is a fundamental change in the way we see transport and mobility. MaaS builds upon on what already exists but takes it to the next level. The current infrastructure, fleets and data create a platform for mobility services. Aim is to fill in those gaps in door to door mobility which lead us to choose our cars. When the foundations or building blocks are in order, we can have networked, interoperable, personalized mobility services for every day of the week.

To summarize, what we need is:

Firstly, we need a clear vision and bold experimenting:
-Europe must know, where it is and where it is going and we have to share a common timetable for actions.
-New attitude to dare bold experimenting is necessary as no one knows exactly, how the world will change and what would be the best way to handle these changes.

Secondly, cross sectoral de- and reregulation is crucial in order to allow development of new innovative services and deployment of modern technologies as well as reduction of administrative burden.
- Smart regulation is one of the key priorities of my government and I will take care that transport sector leads the way at national level.

Thirdly, open data and interfaces are crucial to ensure more services, more innovation. It also ensures quality for end users.

Fourthly, global co-operation is needed, because people and the industry need services also behind European borders and companies develop services at global level.

Last but not least, we need Public-Private-People Partnerships to create the ecosystem. All stakeholders should work together to make Mobility as a Service reality.

This way Europe can be the world leader in digitalized mobility!