The Finnish Transport Agency has started a three-year digitalisation project, which paves way for new transport services, more effective use of the railway network, proactive maintenance on the railways and autonomous driving in Finland.
1) Automated collection of traffic and mobility data
About 400 years ago, the British philosopher Francis Bacon proclaimed that knowledge is power. Knowledge is still valuable, but nowadays it rapidly becomes obsolete. If Sir Francis Bacon had lived in the 2010s, he would have found that real-time data is power. Automated collection of traffic and mobility data generates real-time data which provides a more accurate situation picture of the infrastructure condition.
Moreover, automated data collection generates more information than before. A large amount of real-time traffic and mobility data can provide the means for developing new services and applications. Most of the collected information is open data available to all.
2) More effective use of the railway network
The digitalisation project contains practical solutions to improve punctuality, safety and promote a smooth flow of railway traffic. More effective use of the existing railway network is also emphasized. The subproject enables optimal coordination of the various actors’ capacity requirements, as railway transport is opened to competition.
In the project, a running time system is developed, the aim of which is to improve punctuality, predictability and passenger information in train traffic. Railway safety is also enhanced by means of a mobile platform providing track work information. The railway contractors’ mobile platform provides real-time information about the position of the track work gangs and their schedules.
3) Proactive approach to the repairs required in the road network
In future, infrastructure models will be widely used in the planning of building and periodic maintenance. The process of collecting, handling and analysing data on the road network and maintenance will also be developed. When the maintenance measures can be precisely allocated and scheduled, money is saved and customer service improved. The principle is about the same as in health examinations. The earlier the sickness is diagnosed, the easier the cure.
4) Proactive maintenance on the railways
Improved punctuality and savings are achieved by proactive maintenance on the railways. New methods are created for the continuous monitoring of the railway infrastructure condition and disruptions caused by deficient conditions can be prevented. As in the road network, data collection in the railway network will be automated. In this way, more accurate real-time information on, for example, rail wear and the need for safety device replacements will be available.
5) Navigational channels will be turned into intelligent fairways
In shipping, one must look below the surface. More precise information on, for example, sea bed topography, the water level and the impact of weather conditions will be provided as navigational support. The procedures for forwarding information to vessels will be improved.
6) Customer interaction will be brought into the digital era
There is a saying that the customer is king. In order to provide high-quality services to the king, the Finnish Transport Agency develops and digitalises the customer feedback and licence services. Customer services are facilitated and made more interactive. The aim is to collect information through feedback and crowdsourcing, by means of which we can improve our services and better meet customer expectations. More extensive information services will help customers find the required information on their own. Active and self-sufficient customers can also customize information services to suit their needs.
More information about the Finnish Transport Agency’s digitalisation project, see visual presentation of the project.
The planning on the subproject level is still underway. The project managers of the subprojects and the chairmen of the steering groups are responsible for implementing the changes in their respective areas of responsiblility. The project progress will be specified as soon as the appropriations have been ratified.