Dirk-Jan de Bruijn made no secret of his pride in the achievement: ‘We can look back on a highly successful European Truck Platooning Challenge 2016, which generated tremendous exposure. This is evidenced by the livestream of the landing at the APM Terminals, Maasvlakte II, Rotterdam. More than 100,000 hits came in! I should really start with warm thanks to everyone involved for their active contribution to the success of this Challenge.’
Co-creation and network leadership
The Challenge marks the initial steps towards making truck platooning possible. De Bruijn is confident of this. He believes that co-creation and network leadership have been crucial in the organisation of the Challenge over the past several months. ‘The only way to implement truck platooning is to have all stakeholders working together on this single, shared, inspirational goal, while looking beyond their own narrow interests.’
According to De Bruijn the Challenge marked a very real kick-off. ‘Now, we need to take steps to integrate platooning into our day-to-day logistic and mobility processes. Looking to the period ahead, government will go on acting in connector-mode in order to give the concept of truck platooning a leg up the innovation ladder. This explains the in-depth discussions of truck platooning at the Conference European Truck Platooning Challenge on 7 April in the Amsterdam RAI. Truck platooning was also high on the agenda at the Informal Transport Council on 14 April in Amsterdam, with 28 European ministers backing the “Declaration of Amsterdam”.
In concrete terms, what follow-up moves can we expect? De Bruijn explains: ‘The Dutch government will act in co-creation with interested parties to start-up real-life cases. In this context we’ll also be looking at international corridors, alongside our own highway network. We aim to firm this up before the end of the Dutch EU-presidency, so that the cases will be operational in early 2017.’
De Bruijn continues: ‘We’ll also be making further agreements to preserve the energy from the Challenge. This will be done at the European level with the six umbrella organisations involved in the Challenge (ACEA, CEDR, CLEPA, EReg, ESC and IRU) and in consultation with the European Commission. The ITS European Congress in Glasgow, from 6-9 June, will play an important role here. And with an eye to continuity I’ll certainly stay involved.’
The website made a significant contribution in generating publicity around the European Truck Platooning Challenge. This is demonstrated by visitor statistics from Google Analytics: there were 20,800 sessions in the period 4 January to 10 April (a session is a period during which a user is active on the website) and 15,600 users, completing at least one session. This gives a daily average of 215 sessions and 160 users. During Challenge week (4 April to 8 April) there were 11,400 sessions and 9,600 users, giving a daily average of 2,300 sessions and 1,925 users.
Meanwhile, recent months have seen the website develop into an online community, pro-actively sharing information, knowledge and experience. De Bruijn: ‘The website has become an authority in the field of truck platooning. The core of the community is the Workspace, where you can find the entire range of documents, covering e.g. Next Level Meetings, the Landing, the Conference and the EU presidency. Almost 550 people have access to the Workspace.’
In view of the good visitor totals, the importance of maintaining the community, and holding on to and expanding the know-how gained, continuity of the website figures prominently on the agenda of the Smart Mobility Board. This board coordinates all smart mobility activities conducted by the ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment.