‘We’re all getting in step on the way to Mobility as a Service’

March 14, 2016 326 keer bekeken

‘Excitement is rising as our website countdown ticks on.. and on. Just three weeks before the big day. The landing is scheduled for 6 April, followed the next day by the Conference of the European Truck Platooning Challenge. Coordination and fine-tuning are a must here. There’s no time to get bored.

That’s the situation as seen by programme director Dirk-Jan de Bruijn. Despite a hectic schedule he still has time to examine the basic question: what is actually so important about truck platooning and what is society’s pay-off from good logistics? ‘It really is very important. To make this crystal clear, let’s take a quick look at the new economy for a moment: this is all about the use of products, rather than their ownership.’


De Bruijn explains: ‘In fact, many products are rarely used – like a power tool or a curling iron. The same goes for a car, which stands idle for more than 90 per cent of the time. Increasingly, the new economy is performance-based: instead of buying products, consumers purchase their use. They prefer to buy mobility, rather than a car. So, it’s no surprise that innovative organisations now focus more on performance than possession.’

MAAS: Mobility as a Service

So, what will be the impact for smart mobility and truck platooning? Dirk-Jan de Bruijn says that we have to switch the focus from infrastructure, procedures and vehicles to “Mobility as a Service” (MAAS). ‘This demands optimal organisation of interaction between all stakeholders – road authorities, governmentals, truck manufacturers, and logistics services providers. In turn, this calls for investment in partnerships, co-creation and a multidisciplinary stance. And that is what the Challenge is all about.’


In the meantime, work proceeds apace to make the European Truck Platooning Challenge a success. ‘For instance, over the past several weeks we’ve been working hard to firm-up the routes to be taken by the truck platoons. And the truck manufacturers have provided a range of data to this end. We’ve also been coordinating the last batch of exemptions for admission of truck platoons in participating countries.’

Operational traffic management

A central point for traffic management is one aspect requiring action. De Bruijn: ‘We’re drafting a scenario for operational traffic management. This includes informing, and, if necessary, deploying the relevant officials, like controllers and road inspectors.’

Code of conduct

The code of conduct will also be discussed in the run-up to the Challenge. ‘This would include making room for joining traffic, not using the emergency lane for (re)forming platoons or procedures for peak hour lanes’, explains De Bruijn. ‘And obviously this also means that we inform the police and emergency services.’

Leading names

The 6 April landing of the truck platoons, at APM Terminals, Maasvlakte II in Rotterdam, will be a unique gathering, in a striking setting formed by containers and LED screens, with live music. De Bruijn is gratified that so many leading names will be there, including host Ben Vree (Europe Portfolio Manager of APM Terminals). ‘And of course, we are delighted that our minister Schultz van Haegen of Infrastructure and the Environment will be giving a speech. Also present will be Elzbieta Bienkowska (European commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs), Harrie Schippers (on behalf of the ACEA Commercial Vehicle Board of Directors, President of DAF Trucks), Arthur van Dijk (Chairman of the Dutch Association for Transport and Logistics) and Mark van der Drift (Senior Director Ahold Transport).’

Respected knowledge institutes

Organisation of the 7 April Conference in the RAI Amsterdam, is also nearing completion. De Bruijn: ‘It’s good to see that several leading speakers from respected knowledge institutes, from home and abroad, will be contributing to completion of the Roadmap Truck Platooning towards 2020 and beyond. These include Walther Ploos van Amstel (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Marieke Martens (University of Twente /TNO), Annie Pauzie (IFSTTAR), Steve Shladover (University of California, Berkeley), Lóránt Tavasszy (TU Delft / TNO) and Carlo van de Weijer (TU Eindhoven). In preparation for defining the roadmap, as a joint action with TNO we polled 500 stakeholders online. The results will prove very useful.’