ITS services and decision support for freight transportation

EL FORT – Electric Fleet Optimization in Real-Time


During the recent years there has been a considerable growth in distribution logistics triggered by the continuously increasing amount of goods to transport. At the same time, to have sustainable fuel solutions, there is a strong effort in increasing the use of electric vehicles. As a result, many challenges associated with energy management arise when considering complete fleets of electric trucks. Additionally, current urban traffic scenarios add to the complexity with congestions, roadwork and other traffic limitations.

This project proposes a system to support the use of electric distribution trucks in urban environments, by optimizing the use of the complete fleet, instead of focusing on single vehicles. The system takes into account real-time traffic information, such as congestions, and vehicle information, such as battery state and cargo information, to dynamically assign missions and routes to each vehicle in the most cost-efficient way. The result is that every vehicle receives appropriate missions dynamically and will drive along routes optimized in real-time, thereby increasing efficiency of the complete fleet and contributing positively to traffic flow.

The main innovations considering the current state-of-the-art are the focus on electric vehicles specific characteristics, the focus on the complete fleet and the real-time planning. Additionally, it is seen that this approach brings route optimization closer to the vehicle by utilizing specific parameters available.

The project is a collaboration between Volvo and Chalmers University of Technology, Department of Signals and Systems (S2), and Division of Transport and Logistics. At large, the project contributes to the Volvo initiative of deploying electric truck solutions and also to Chalmers’ initiatives in using Intelligent Transportation Systems for future freight transport.

Ph D student: Rafael Basso, Volvo Technology.

Supervisors: Dr. Balázs Adam Kulcsár and Dr. Per-Olof Arnäs.

University: Department of Signals and Systems, Chalmers.


Real-time Access and Guidance Control in Qualifying Transportation Systems


Stefan’s research interest is applied focusing on intermodal transportation in combination with information and communication technology (ICT). The goal is to solve bottle necks in the hubs (terminals, ports) by using different real-time ICT applications like access and guidance control.

The PhD studies are expected to meet three challenges that are raised when it comes to adapting real-time access control and guidance systems in practice.

The first challenge is that of data collection. In order for a system of this type to work, there is a need to collect digital data in real-time from various heterogeneous systems. Data from several organizations and several – often mobile – digital infrastructures need to become available in a transparent and scalable fashion. The second challenge is that of filtering and combining various datasets in real-time. In order to facilitate an efficient real-time planning and control process, there must be a function that analyses and combines heterogeneous data from several sources (including real-time data but also other sources such as historical- or behavioural data). The third challenge is that of exploiting the data in real-time. This is perhaps the most difficult to achieve in transportation systems since the previous two challenges can be overcome mostly in a back-office setting whereas this challenge needs instant feedback and control of the physical transportation and handling system (also in real-time).

Stefan’s dissertation project is financed by FFI (Fordonsstrategisk Forskning och Innovation), and is in its first year. The PhD student project is part of the project REACH, Real-time Access and Guidance Control in Qualifying Transportation Systems. REACH runs from 2014 to 2016. The REACH project aims to enable advanced, digital interaction in real-time between infrastructure/facility and vehicle in order to increase efficiency in intermodal freight transport systems through dynamic access control and guidance. The focus is on stakeholders in intermodal freight transport systems, such as hauliers and terminal operators, that will – with digital technology – achieve new benefits (environmental, security and competitive).

Ph D student: Stefan Jacobsson, Consenso.

Supervisors: Dr. Per-Olof Arnäs and Dr. Gunnar Stefansson

University: Div. of Logistics and Transportation, Chalmers.


Enhancing Transportation Security and Efficiency through ITS


Camilla’s research interest is applied focusing on logistical questions and problems within ITS, where ITS is defined as a cross-disciplinary field of logistics and information systems. Initially, the relation between the research field of ITS and freight transports will be studied and mapped from a research perspective.

The PhD studies are expected to have a special focus on the relation between measures and effects of security and efficiency. ITS is an important tool but organisational aspects will be considered as well. The goal is for the research to help the strategic planning of investments in measures for security and efficiency at companies, as well as the development of policies for control of freight transports at authorities.

This research is financed by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB), and it is part of the project HITS, Harmonized Intelligent Transportation Systems for Transport of Dangerous Goods, that runs from 2014 to 2015. The HITS project aims at performing research and generating incentives so that transporters voluntarily increase transportation security for dangerous goods. The project e.g. plans on extending the service platform Intelligent Access Program, IAP, to cover dangerous goods. In 2015 the project will focus on demonstration, test, and quantification of results.

Ph D student: Camilla Nyquist Magnusson, Lund University.

Advisors: Dr. Daniel Hellström, Lund University, Dr. Magnus Andersson, Viktoriainstitutet.

University: Lund University



Intelligent Goods



The transports of goods are continuously increasing in many regions, for instance within Europe. Often goods travel through many different countries, using several transport modes and involving a number of different actors. As a result, the traffic load on the transport network is increasing, on the roads in particular, and the logistics chains become more and more complex. Implementing some level of intelligence on the goods, which provide them with the capabilities to assist in the logistical activities, is one of the instruments that can be used to make transports and the handling of goods more efficient and controllable. The concept of intelligent goods both opens up for new types of services and may be used to improve currently available services. This research is mainly focused on the characteristics and possible architectures of intelligent goods systems. In this context, an intelligent goods system refers to a number of interacting components (on-board units (OBU), back-office, RFID tags, etc.), including intelligent goods, which together provide services. The architecture studies are focused on which information and data processing are needed, where they should be stored and which communication links are required. By identifying architectures corresponding to different service solutions, intelligent goods can be evaluated against other types of solutions, for instance more centralized configurations. In particular, different situations and services put different requirements on a system and the benefits of using intelligent goods vary.

Ph D student: Åsa Jevinger,

Advisors: Professor Paul Davidsson, Docent Jan Persson, BTH/MaH and Henrik Sternberg, LU.

Subject: Computer Science

University: Blekinge Institute of Technology (BTH) and Malmö University (MaH)

Partners: Chalmers University of Technology, Karlshamns kommun.


ITS services and e-waybill


A waybill is a type of document that accompanies the freight during transportation and it contains essential information about a consignment. In cross-border transport, a copy of the waybill should by law follow the consignment, and for freight transport within a country, there often exist similar regulations based on the CMR convention.

The existing research on electronic waybill (e-Waybill) for different modes of transport is limited to e-Waybill solutions that are focussed on back-office-to-back-office communication. In addition, the existing research on investigating synergies between Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) services is limited to ITS services without considering the e-Waybill for synergies. Synergies can be achieved between services if they are able to share the resources needed by them. In this thesis we have investigated e-Waybill solutions that are focused on back-office, as well as, on freight-level storage and access to the e-Waybill information. Additionally, the purpose of our research is on investigating potential synergies between an e-Waybill and other ITS services. In the existing research, according to the best of our knowledge, there is no study that concerns synergies between an e-Waybill and other ITS services. We consider this type of investigation to be of particular interest to study, because an e-Waybill has essential information about a consignment (under transport) and it follows the consignment.

Achieving synergies between an e-Waybill and other ITS services can potentially increase the effectiveness of the e-Waybill and ITS services in different ways. The e-Waybill, if implemented by utilizing synergies with other ITS services, will possibly increase the benefits of an e-Waybill service, as well as, the benefits of the other ITS services. An e-Waybill service, if implemented alone, has the potential to contribute to a paperless flow of information in freight transport, by replacing the traditional paper Waybill with an e-Waybill. In addition to a paperless flow of information in freight transport, an e-Waybill service (through utilizing synergies with other ITS services) may provide benefits, such as, reducing emissions, traffic congestion, and the number of accidents, and utilizing the infrastructure and vehicles capacity efficiently. For ITS service providers, the total implementation cost of the services may be reduced if synergies are achieved between the services due to the possibility of sharing different types of resources. For ITS service developers, the benefits of sharing resources can be possibly to reduce development cost and time by reusing the already developed components (i.e., resources) in multiple services, where those particular components are required. For the services users, the benefits could possibly include reducing the cost of having multiple platforms for different services, i.e., achieving benefits of all the services from a single platform without having to use different platforms for different services.

To investigate synergies between the e-Waybill and other ITS services, we present 5 conceptual e-Waybill solutions that differ in where the e-Waybill information is stored, read, and written. A set of 20 ITS services are considered for synergy analysis in this thesis. These services are mainly for road transport, however most of them are relevant to be considered for utilization in other modes of transport as well. For information synergy analysis, the e-Waybill solutions are assessed based on their synergies with ITS services. The result from our synergy analysis may support the choice of practical e-Waybill systems, which has the possibility to provide high synergy with ITS services. This may lead to a higher utilization of ITS services and more sustainable transport, e.g., in terms of reduced congestion and emissions. Additionally, a service design method has been proposed for supporting the process of designing new ITS services, which primarily utilizes on functional synergies with already existing ITS services. In order to illustrate the usage of the suggested method, we have applied it for designing a new ITS service, i.e., the Liability Intelligent Transport System (LITS) service. The purpose of the LITS service is to support the process of identifying when, where, and by whom a consignment has been damaged and who was responsible when the consignment was damaged.

Ph D student: Shoaib Bakhtyar,

Advisors: Prof. Lars Lundberg and Dr. Lawrence Henesey.

Subject: Computer Science.

University: Blekinge Institute of Technology.

Partners: Karlshamns kommun, Netport.


ITS services for road freight transportation


The focus of this research is the assessment of telematic systems for road freight transport from a planning perspective. The aim is to support strategic decisions related to architectural choices for such systems, with the possibility to achieve synergies by supporting multiple telematic services. The past decade has witnessed enormous growth in cargo volumes resulting in increasing demand for transport capacity. To match this increasing demand only with expansion of infrastructure, e.g. road and vehicles, does not seem to be a sustainable strategy. One of the few approaches with the potential to improve the use of current transport capacity is the integrated use of modern information and communication technology, otherwise known as telematic systems for road transport, an important component within Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). This type of systems can deliver multiple services that can be used to improve the effciency and safety of road freight transport. However, attempts to unleash the potential of telematic systems and make maximum possible use of the available transport capacity have been hindered by several challenges ranging from planning and design to development and deployment. Considering the large scope of possible telematic services that can potentially be deployed in road freight transport, this thesis suggests a framework in order to enable structured assessment of telematic systems. Based on the suggested framework, a set of potential transport telematic services are identi ed and a method for quantifying the value of the services to society is developed. The suggested method takes into account the expected impact on di erent transportation challenges, such as accidents, fuel consumption, and infrastructure maintenance. Quantitative methods are provided for studying the value of services sharing a common infrastructure. 

Ph D student: Gideon Mbiydzenyuy,,

Advisors: Professor Paul Davidsson, Docent  Jan Persson.

Subject: Computer Science.

University: Blekinge Institute of Technology.

Partners: Trafikverket, Netport, Sweco, Info24, Karlshamns Expressbyrå.


The Influence of Customer Agreements and Planning Principles on Rail Freight Carload Performance



Rail freight transportation is recognized worldwide as a suitable transportation mode when it comes to long haul transportation of heavy commodities. The industry is also known to be capital intensive, highly dependent on infrastructural developments and requires thorough planning of operations. Despite intensive planning of operations, great challenges remain in how to make best use of existing resources. Especially uncertainties related to up-coming daily freight volumes stand as central causes behind such planning challenges.


This research focuses on rail freight carload transportation and concerns how customer commitments influence operational performance as well as potentials for improvements of operational planning principles. Problem statements are addressed using three separate studies and all experiments involve quantitative approaches.


Ph D student: Lars Backåker, Linköpung University.

Advisors: Professor Jan Lundgren, Dr. Stefan Engwall, Dr. Johanna Törnquist Krasemann

Subject: Infrainformatics

University: Linköping University

Partners: Green Cargo