Transport in Transition

Anne Berner - Norden.orgOur Government’s Programme strongly recognizes that we are in the middle of a disruptive transition. Finland’s competitiveness is built on high expertise and open-minded innovations based on experimentation and digitalisation. We all know the breakthrough of digital technology is taking place at great speed in different areas of society. And, the change is happening right now!

Digital technology, automation and robotics offer us enormous potential to increase productivity and growth. In the future, economic growth and capital will be increasingly closely tied to information, intelligence and services.

In the future, robotics will be integrated in everything surrounding us, as sensors and artificial intelligence technologies develop. Already many applications for robotics can be found in cars, appliances, mobile phones, apartments and so on. Vehicles and passengers increasingly use and produce real-time information, for example about the state of traffic, the location of vehicles or parking spaces and their experiences of services.

The development of personal communications devices, the growing importance of data, new transport services, data-controlled logistics, an interconnected transport system, the Internet of Things, and autonomous vehicles are changing transport as we know it.

The explosive growth of data, the capacity to process and understand it, the openness of information are all enabling the utilisation of increasingly intelligent solutions in transport and logistics. We are enabling the development of totally new kinds of services and business models.

Personal data has an increasingly significant social, economic, and practical value. Organizations around the globe are busy exploring the opportunities of human centric personal data. Whole industries such as energy and transport are already in middle of disruption by this trend.

Finland has created a the MyData-concept, which is a human centred approach in personal data management that combines industry need to data with digital human rights.

It is our objective to create a favourable operating environment for digital services and new business models, as well as meeting global mega trends, such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality – the growing role of services and automation.

Many basic societal services have already been digitalised, and this trend shows no sign of slowing down, quite the opposite.

The Mobility as a Service (MaaS) concept is also becoming more common, and it is strongly supported by the new Transport Code initiative. For the customer, MaaS means a wider selection of readily available services. Mobility services, ranging from public transport to ride-hailing and beyond, are tailored to meet the user needs. They are produced by taking advantage of data and open platforms. Different forms of transport and technology are combined in easy-to-use, customisable service packages. Our legislation should not prevent or limit new ways of doing business or providing services, and this has been the sustaining idea behind the Transport Code.

Even today reliable and fast data connections are essential in business and daily life. As new revolutionary technological breakthroughs are transforming the communications systems globally, the quality, availability and speed requirements will continue to grow.

5G is a communications technology revolution, which will fundamentally change the role of wireless technologies in society. I would like to point out that transport will be one of the most important use cases for 5G, as reliable and instant communications will become a necessity in the transport sector. It is our goal to be among the world’s forerunners in the development of new technology and to keep our communications networks at a world-leading level also in the future. As a result of its reliable and high-capacity communications network, Finland could serve as a pioneer in traffic automation and services.

However, a connected world is creating new kinds of security challenges. The significance of data protection and cyber security is being heightened, as operations and devices transfer to digital networks. When transport merges with communication, data system security will become the core of traffic safety. In a connected world, infrastructure, activity taking place in it and the transfer of data must be protected. Users, both humans and machines, must be able to trust the data and its integrity.

Our greatest challenge for the future will be the climate change and how to find sufficient actions to meet the international agreements. The transport sector will meet the ambitious needs of emissions reduction and we are forced to change established operating practices and to find new solutions in the transport and communications sector. As we know, the transport sector is a significant producer of greenhouse gas emissions.

The national climate and energy strategy outlines concrete measures and targets by which Finland can reach the energy and climate goals agreed in the government programme and the EU by 2030. The energy and climate strategy states that half the emissions from traffic must be cut by 2030 in comparison to the situation in 2005. This is a significant challenge for us.

We need to tackle our climate goals with a wide range of means. These includes, improving the energy efficiency of the transport system, by improving the energy efficiency of vehicles and other means of transport, and by replacing fossil fuels with renewable and low-emission fuels and propulsion systems such as electricity, hydrogen, biofuels, natural gas or biogas. Walking, cycling, public transport, new transport services and utilisations of data are just a few of the areas which the improvement of energy efficiency of the transport system will have a positive effect on.

In conclusion, transport of the future must have the capacity to serve our needs, it must be energy-efficient and supportive of low-emission transport. It must also take into account and utilise the development of automation in transport. This is our future, we can do it.

Anne Berner
Minister of Transport and Communications