Digitalisation, automation and electrification as the factors of change for transport

There is a need for a change in paradigm to achieve transport transformation. This change assigns user needs and the development of transport services in the centre of transport system planning. Understanding the paradigm change there is a need for a outlook on the transport system as a wholeness, technological, economical and societal research as well as studies on transport policy measures and recommendations of the measures. This research produces awareness on the entity. The key question of the research is How do the technological innovations transform the transport systems from the user perspective?. Additional questions are on what schedule the changes take place, which are the desired changes and how should the changes take place to reach the goals.


The research builds on systematic literature research, which focus on 1) the effects of new transport services and digitalisation on passenger and freight transport, 2) the effects of automation on passenger and freight transport, 3) the effects of electric vehicles on passenger and freight transport, and 4) long-range scenarios in passenger and freight transport system. The literature research is conducted mainly through scientific databases and the results are complemented with other relevant studies. The project is a central element of research at Transport Research Centre Verne. Several doctoral studies at Verne are linked with the project.


Transport is vital to the wellbeing of people. Transport is derived demand, serving the higher purposes of connecting people with each other and people with food and goods. At the same time, transport is also a major cause of suffering both directly because of accidents and indirectly because of climate change and illnesses caused by exhaust gas emissions such as NOx and particulate matter. There is an evident need for transport transformation. Digitalisation, automation and electrification offer excellent means for the transformation, but do not solve the problems related to transport on their own. The factors of change can contribute to achieving safe, non-polluting and affordable transport, but the can also increase transports need for energy and space. This research recognises possible futures and explores means to direct the development to the desired future, where the transport system supports the social and economical of people wellbeing as well as ecological wellbeing.

The research is funded by Kone Foundataion (grant number b4b919).

Results have been published in several scientific articles:

  • Liimatainen, H, van Vliet, O & Aplyn, D 2019, ‘The potential of electric trucks – An international commodity-level analysis’ Applied Energy, vol. 236, pp. 804-814.
  • Liimatainen, H & Mladenović, MN 2018, ‘Understanding the complexity of mobility as a service’ Research in Transportation Business and Management.
  • Liljamo, T, Liimatainen, H & Pöllänen, M 2018, ‘Attitudes and concerns on automated vehicles’ TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH PART F: TRAFFIC PSYCHOLOGY AND BEHAVIOUR, vol. 59A, no. November, pp. 24-44.
  • Melliger, M, van Vliet, OPR & Liimatainen, H 2018, ‘Anxiety vs reality – Sufficiency of battery electric vehicle range in Switzerland and Finland’ TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH PART D: TRANSPORT AND ENVIRONMENT, vol. 65, pp. 101-115.
  • Liimatainen, H, Greening, P, Dadhich, P & Keyes, A 2018, ‘Possible Impact of Long and Heavy Vehicles in the United Kingdom—A Commodity Level Approach’ Sustainability, vol. 10, no. 8.