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Cooperation and climate in focus at Transport Efficiency Day 2015

Cooperation is the key to creating sustainable transport systems of the future. This was expressed by the Minister for Infrastructure, Anna Johansson, when she spoke during the Transport Efficiency Day on August 27 in Örebro. For the fourth consecutive year, more than 200 researchers and representatives of the business community and society gathered. Discussions on the year’s conference focused on global challenges, transport-policy goals and new innovations.

Transport Efficiency Day is organized by CLOSER and Northern LEAD in collaboration with Region Örebro County. The conference aims to create a meeting place to develop and disseminate knowledge about how transport can be made more efficient.

The day started with an international view of global trends and challenges. Professor Dr. J. Rod Franklin, Kühne Logistics University, painted a picture of a future in which changes in the climate, economy, population and technology completely transformed the conditions for all types of industries. He believed that completely new, creative approaches and innovations will be required to meet the challenges facing the world. The second international speaker, Professor Eric Ballot, Mines ParitTech, HDR, showed an example of such an innovation, the physical Internet. 

Download the speaker presentations

Major challenges – enormous opportunities

The Minister for Infrastructure, Anna Johansson, also spoke at the conference and stated that SEK 1.2 billion is being invested to improve maintenance of railways in Sweden. She also underlined the need to better utilize existing infrastructure using new innovations.

We have to invest and we must preserve what we have. But it also involves, to a great extent, how we utilize the infrastructure we already have.

“If our export industry is to compete with an increasingly tou


gher external world, we must have an even better transport infrastructure for cargo. We must prepare but we must also get smarter logistics systems whereby new technology is able to create new opportunities and conditions. It is incredibly exciting to see how rapidly development is progressing, for example, renewable fuels, electric highways, remote air-control towers and new IT systems for better logistics planning.

The Minister for Infrastructure concluded her speech by underlining the importance of cooperation to be able to tackle the challenges facing the transport system.

“We in Sweden are very good at cooperating, both internationally and domestically, betweenthe public, business community and academia. It is a strong competitive advantage, which we must continue to develop. By developing this type of cooperation, we will be positioned at the cutting edge of efforts to create smart logistics systems, transport infrastructure and vehicles of the future. I am extremely positive about the future; there are major challenges but also enormous opportunities.

Speakers about TREFF15

We had the opportunity to interview some of the speakers at Transport Efficiency Day about their opinion on the year’s conference.

Per Wenner, Director of Availability Issues at the Swedish Transport Administration

What is the main challenge facing the transport system?

“Naturally, the climate challenge is the most important challenge if we are to retain the logistics and the way we live today. We must face up to this challenge much more earnestly than we do today.”

How are we to achieve this?
“I feel that our cooperation with CLOSER is a good example. Creating a joint view between various players, working at system level, seeing how the various parts are connected, finding new solutions and using the new technology in a better way. Many measures are required, on many different levels. But, this very cooperation is key for us to be able to take on the challenges and opportunities we face.”

Which solution or address was particularly interesting during the conference?
“For me it was ‘the physical Internet,’ something new and the examples of how efficiency can be improved by using it. In order to succeed, we must create the right drivers. It will fail without profitability; we must have business models and generate the right political incentives.”

Was anything lacking that you would like to see more of at next year’s conference?
“The product-owner perspective was interesting; listening to how Clas Ohlsson resolved its transport issues. It would be exciting to see even more of that next year.”

Anders Bylund, Siemens

What is the principal challenge facing the transport system?

“The transition to more sustainable types of energy, for example, through electrification. It may also entail the transition to railway, other intermodal solutions, sea freight but also increased efficiency in road traffic.”

Which subject or address was particularly interesting during the conference?

“My best memory from that day is that there were so many good ideas, proposals and initiatives. In particular, the international addresses were incredibly interesting. The fact that the conference was held in Örebro was also good since it generated an even broader range of participants.”

Was anything lacking that you would like to see more of at next year’s conference?

“A subject that was not mentioned so much and on which more focus could be placed is intelligent traffic systems. For example, the address by Mind Connect [Intelligent traffic systems to calculate how traffic flows in real time and thus facilitate making better decisions about travel routes]. Such solutions will be highly significant for future transport solutions and could have a great effect on both the environmental impact and economic development.”

Björn Hasselgren, Doctor of Science, the Royal Institute of Technology and Chairman of the Infrastructure Commission.

What is the principal challenge facing the transport system?

“Finding forms for how to organize and finance transport systems so they become as efficient as possible. I believe in a format in which the responsible organizations for roads and railways, for example, are steered more by the choices passengers make. In this way, more fee payments will go directly to the responsible organizations.”

Which subject or address was particularly interesting during the conference?

“The technical advances are very exciting, as covered by several addresses, including new traffic control services, Uber and remote vehicles. This is very important since it can enhance the efficiency of the transport sector and enable us to cope better with sustainability challenges.”

Was anything lacking that you would like to see more of at next year’s conference?

“More tangible examples of alternative organizational formats and alternative projects could have been included. Next year, perhaps we from the Infrastructure Commission could talk about our proposals. We will have a few cases to present, for example, a better railway service from Stockholm to Oslo, with Örebro in the middle.”