Transport is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and it is influenced by several megatrends. New services are constantly emerging on a global basis in this industry, drawing hundreds of billions of euros in investments. The ongoing transition in the transport industry offers Finnish expertise excellent potential for building a new export growth industry out of sustainable transport solutions. The SmartTram ecosystem brings together the Finnish research and business sectors to work with cities to create the world’s finest tram transport solutions in order to reinforce exports of Finnish expertise.
“Our goal is to become the most attractive producer on the international markets of functions and services integrated into tram vehicles. Urban environments require a sustainable and user-oriented transport system. Our technological focus is to create the world’s best tram, as far as passenger services and life cycle services are concerned, and also to develop solutions to improve the safety and flexibility of trams with a view towards autonomous transport,” says Kai Hermonen from Skoda Transtech Oy, project manager of the SmartTram ecosystem.
VTT is an innovation partner and research project coordinator with Skoda Transtech in the ecosystem. Tampereen Raitiotie Oy and Helsinki City Transport provide opportunities for running a variety of experiments in Tampere and in the Helsinki metropolitan area to facilitate the adoption of solutions customised to user needs.
“SmartTram is a good example of the sort of ecosystem that is a key goal in the National Growth Programme for the Transport Sector, boosting developments in the industry, fostering business-led growth and promoting exports through cooperation between the private and public sectors and research institutions,” says Principal Scientist Raine Hautala from VTT.
Data and services at the core of the transport system
Digitalisation, advanced technology, human-oriented design and new operating models are being wielded to tackle the challenges of urbanisation, increasing traffic and climate change. Emission-free smart solutions customised to user needs and based on public transport and new kinds of mobility services will be of crucial importance. The transport system will become further automatic, electric and service-based. Transport is rapidly becoming the most important growth sector in the data economy, as means of transport are increasingly linked to information and energy networks.
A key factor in attaining the goals of the SmartTram ecosystem is the achievement of a world-class development environment for mobility services linked to trams. This will boost service and product development by businesses and help bring solutions beneficial for end users and for cities to the market.
Network of experts
SmartTram is an open and growing ecosystem, and talks on cooperation have been held with more than 60 operators to date. The first innovation phase and projects in SmartTram was launched with support from Business Finland in early 2019, involving Skoda Transtech, Mevea, Mipro, 3D Talo, Tampereen Raitiotie, Business Tampere, the City of Tampere, Helsinki City Transport, the Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, the Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology and VTT. In this first phase, the ecosystem focuses on tram automation solutions and information systems, on simulations supporting design and modelling, and on ecosystem-based business operations.
The second innovation phase will be launched in late 2019. Its principal themes will be anticipatory situational awareness, user-oriented solutions and effectiveness. The third innovation phase, concentrating on transport and mobility services linked to trams, is intended to be launched in 2020.