The TransSONIC Project
The TransSonic project is a project in the "Complexity in Logistics" call of NWO and the Top Institute Logistics in The Netherlands that started in July 2017, and actually ran till March 2022. The project researched the technical and organizational blockers and enablers, and their interaction, for providing integrated seamless multimodal transport services in the Netherlands. In such a system, a network of interdependent actors –on different transport modalities– have to work together and adapt in real time to changing demands of freight forwarders and shippers as well as changing availability of infrastructure and assets. We researched whether such services can emerge from the combination of social interactions between transport network organizations and novel, but already existing, technologies for sensing and for information exchange between partners, such as sensor networks, a blockchain ledger, and smart contracts. For the social interaction, simulation and gaming were used as the main research instrument to study inter-organizational interactions as well as intervention and reward mechanisms that would lead to new types of services. Two issues played a central role in the research: lack of situational awareness about the current state of the system, and the low level of trust between transport partners Both are known to be major blockers for organizing multimodal or synchromodal transport. The project therefore studied the effects of transport network information and new smart contracts between parties to (partly) overcome these issues. To develop and test the technological and organizational solutions, and their integration, a combination of simulation, gaming, data analysis and case studies in industry has been conducted.