January 24, 2013

A new take on traffic services

The objective of the multi-service model is to create new electronic service markets for logistics and people on the move. The services under development are competitive on a global scale.
The objective of the multi-service model is to create new electronic service markets for logistics and people on the move. The services under development are competitive on a global scale.
Lehtikuva / Kalle Parkkinen

Among the areas targeted for development in the near future are the interplay between vehicles and infrastructure, as well as electric cars and emission-free traffic. This is an era of mobility-related innovations.

The goal of the innovative “multi-service model”, which serves the needs of traffic, mobility and logistics, is to reduce emissions, increase safety and traffic flow, and to generate new transport-related services and offer them in a readily available form. Taking part in this national co-operation programme are the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Finnish Transport Agency, the Finnish Transport Safety Agency, and Tekes.

“The new services will make use of the same basic elements, such as user recognition, navigation, data transfer and payment processes,” explains development manager Juuso Kummala from the Finnish Transport Agency. “Consumers can choose the device that they want and at the same time buy the services they need, just like when purchasing a mobile phone and simultaneously signing up with a telecommunications operator.”

“Multi-services could, in practice, take over the functions of various separately operating devices and systems and therefore bring cost savings. From the service provider’s viewpoint, the objective of the model is to attain synergy benefits and create new business opportunities.”

Full of potential

The services produced under the multi-service concept can be roughly divided into public services and commercial services. The public services could include, for example, various types of traffic safety bulletins and payments. Commercial services include applications related to fleet management, navigation, traffic reports, electronic payments and reservations.

According to Kummala, technology is no longer the issue when developing services, because it makes many things possible and holds a lot of potential.

“An interesting new feature is the opening up of the data in a vehicle’s internal systems for use by application developers. This will also lead to the creation of a wide range of services,” Kummala explains.

A person using the display of a data terminal installed in a car or a tablet, smart phone or navigator linked to the data terminal can, in future, have access to a variety of services. In practical terms this could mean searching for a free parking space and paying for parking, receiving up-to-date traffic information and warnings, insurance services and electronic remote vehicle inspections or tourist and navigation services.

No shortage of work

A few projects stemming from last spring’s call for research proposals on the multi-service model have been launched to get things going. Companies have also taken the initiative by independently developing a variety of trial services.

“As we are dealing with creating an ecosystem and an operating model rather than some kind of system, it will be constructed piece by piece,” Kummala says.

The developed services are expected to be competitive on a global scale and marketable throughout Europe.

“Our solid know-how in the areas of mobile and navigation technology give us an advantage in this area, too. Due to the fast pace of development and large volumes that are out there, we need to keep working constantly. Our possibilities are good, however, because success will require smooth co-operation between the various parties. And that is something that we have a flair for,” Kummala sums up.

Text by: Sari Okko

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