Intelligent Freight Transport Systems: Integrating Traffic Management with Freight Transport Management
R A M Jorna and E C van Drunen, ECORYS Transport/NEI, NL
Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) has a well-known meaning in passenger transport, especially with respect to private cars. However, ITS is not a familiar word in the freight domain. Therefore there is a need to define the role of freight transport within Intelligent Transport Systems. The Thematic Network THEMIS, an initiative of the European Commission, DG TREN, is exactly aiming at that: contributing to the establishment of Intelligent Freight Transport Systems. Although THEMIS covers all transport modes, this paper will focus on Intelligent Freight Transport Systems for road transport.
Integrating traffic information with road freight transport managementThe integration of traffic information with freight transport management is a prerequisite for the creation of intelligent freight transport systems. The most important reason to integrate traffic information with freight transport management systems is to provide a better Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA). Using traffic information, the ETA can be kept up to date with changing traffic situations and will therefore become more reliable. This means better service can be provided to customers, and more efficient use of resources can be realised. Taking into account the needs of the freight transport sectorRoad traffic information is a by-product of road traffic management. As a result, the focus has always been on a numerous private cars, not on the relatively few heavy goods vehicles. Thus, the specific userneeds of the road freight transport companies have been largely neglected. However, there is a growing awareness among freight transport operators, that they should use traffic information to optimise their fleet planning and to improve customer service. This is a direct result of the increased level of automation within road freight transport companies (trip planning software, mobile data communication, internet), which now offers the possibility to integrate (real-time) traffic information with the freight transport management software. Therefore time has come to take into account the specific needs of the road freight transport sector withrespect to road traffic information. This paper will provide a (preliminary) overview of the user needs of the road freight transport sector concerning traffic information. It will map the user requirements to the available traffic information. And will highlight the potential benefits for the freight transport companies as well as for society.
Association for European Transport