How can the data economy unlock the full potential of European transport?

PTV CEO Vincent Kobesen at the European Transport Forum 2017

Top policy-makers and stakeholders gathered at the European Transport Forum in Brussels to engage in a high-level debate on the potential of the use of data as a tool in transportation. The theme of the 2017 debate, which took place on 17 October, was “How can the data economy unlock the full potential of European transport?”.

Our CEO Vincent Kobesen joined a panel of leading experts (Dita Charanzová, Vice Chair of IMCO Committee, European Parliament; John Frank, Vice President EU Government Affairs, Microsoft; Niklas Gustafsson, Chief Sustainability Officer, Volvo Group and Victoria Espinel, President and CEO of BSA) to discuss this issue.

Do you think the European Commission’s approach to “Building a European Data Economy” adequately addresses the issues facing the transport sector in this area?

Audience poll results:

  • 14%: Yes, it is on the right track to enable the transport sector to take full advantage of the data economy
  • 69%: Partly, but it should take more account of the specificities of the transport sector
  • 17%: No, the EU is not doing enough to maximise the data economy’s contribution to unlocking the full potential of European transport

Kobesen agreed with the majority of the audience, but he is concerned that momentum is being lost, with some regulations or cross-border issues preventing access to valuable data and the creation of a uniform data set. He also said that many companies dealing with data are not cooperating with each other.

What, for you, is the most important issue that needs to be addressed to ensure data from transport is shared and used in a responsible way?

Audience poll results:

  • 7%: Getting the legal framework that will underpin such data sharing right
  • 5%: Striking the right balance between realising the potential benefits of sharing data while protecting the interests of market players who invest in generating data
  • 8%: Ensuring that whatever data is shared, this is done in a way that does not compromise the safety and integrity of the vehicle

Vincent Kobesen thinks that data anonymization is a big issue, particularly in some European Member States.

Who needs to do what to maximise the data economy’s contribution to unlocking the full potential of European transport?

Audience poll results:

  • 6%: Policy-makers at all levels have the most important role to play in driving progress
  • 8%: The private sector has the most important role to play in delivering the technologies needed to drive progress
  • 6%: Both: policy-makers and the private sector must work together if we are to accelerate progress

According to Vincent Kobesen, the logistics sector needs some encouragement to move together in the right direction, and here the government needs to set incentives for cooperation between the different parties. He would like to “set up a European data warehouse, modelled on the national data warehouse in the Netherlands, which collects offline data from the private sector”. He added: “It’s a good initiative as it forces the private and public sectors to work together. I would do it at a European level, not just for offline data but also for real-time data from the public and private sectors.”

Read the complete summary: “How can the data economy unlock the full potential of european transport?”