What role for digitalization in order to achieve an intermodal level playing field?
Digitalization is transforming all aspects of society and the economy – including transport. A series of innovations are fundamentally changing the operation and distribution of transport services. On the occasion of the 4th Florence Intermodal Forum, stakeholders from industry, regulators and new businesses discussed the intermodal dimension of this transformation: as digitalisation is changing some transport modes faster and more profoundly than others, the Forum discussed the role of digitalisation in order to achieve an intermodal level playing field.
Among other things, it emerged that a new vision of mobility has to be formulated: self-driving vehicles will soon be a reality as will be the prevalence of the “platform economy” or “servicisation” of transport. The availability of these new means can change transport patterns (and the modal share) in various directions. As yet, it is unclear how. It needs to be ensured that innovations can develop in a beneficial way in all the transport modes and that undesired effects are identified and prevented early on.
The European transportation system is one of the world’s best; yet, it faces major challenges deriving from the increasing growth in passenger and freight transportation demand: infrastructure capacity is reaching its limits and its use has to be optimized; decarbonisation of transport has to be pursued to meet the emission-targets set by the EU without curbing mobility; safety and security standards have to be maintained or even improved while accommodating ever higher transport volumes. Technological innovation and digitalization have already made the system more dynamic and will continue to do so in the future: which aspects of innovation should be regulated, and ultimately what can be done to make “regulation for innovation” become a reality?