Green Corridor in the North Sea Region

WP 5 – PITS Professional Intelligent Transport Solutions

Professional Intelligent Transport Solutions

logoThe PITS project perceives a need in the North Sea Region for the development of a logistic and/or transport service that enhances multi-modal logistical planning for SME’s. A region that ships over 1 billion tons of cargo yearly by short sea shipping alone. PITS recognizes that in a modern society there’s ample opportunity to provide companies in the SME sector with a user friendly marketplace that informs and advises on the use of multimodal transport solutions.
The result of the PITS project will contribute to the priority: “Enhancing Multi Modal Logistic chains with new innovative services” as stated in the European transport ambitions. EU Communication (Com 2009 279/4) emphasizes the importance of service innovation: “The most immediate priorities appear to be the better integration of the different modes of transport as a way to improve the overall efficiency of the system and the acceleration of the development and deployment of innovative technologies.”

The PITS project has the ambition to develop a marketplace that integrates (real time) transport knowledge from different sources. The market place gives easy access to all stakeholders in the logistical chain and presents multi modal transport options to SME companies in a comprehensive way without changing these underlying logistical chains.
schedule network

On the supply side the marketplace delivers better insight in and access to multimodal transport possibilities to SME companies who offer cargo. On the demand side PITS will realize a more efficient use of available cargospace (e.g. LCF, FCF etc.) in short sea shipping by enlarging the amount of guaranteed demand in favour of peak and urgent shipments who are largely transported by road at the moment (see figure above). The real time management of supply and demand on the market place will lead to more efficient use of multi modal transport. Furthermore the PITS marketplace will be a place where SME companies can gain knowledge and share experiences about Multi Modal transport opportunities. The following partners are involved in PITS:

  • – DTU
  • – HILOG
  • – Target Holding

DTU, HILOG and Target Holding possess the necessary knowledge to manage and develop such a system.

Project Description

layersThe PITS platform consists of three modules, the presentation layer, the business logic and the database layer. The figure below shows the stratification, responsible partner and basic functionality. Appendix A shows a schematical outline of the systems architecture. See the Specifications document for further explanation on the three layers.

Presentation layer

The marketplace has a presentation layer to make the functionality available to the end user. The use cases have to point out the workflow available in the interface. At this time there are two types of users:

  • – Frontoffice: the user who wants his stuff shipped
  • – Backoffice: the transit agencies (LSP’s)
  • – The presentation layer is basically a website and is responsible for interaction with the user.

The frontoffice is reachable with the domain name with a web browser such as Internet Explorer, Safari or Mozilla Firefox. The backoffice, which is also a website, is available only for administration purposes. Users, such as LSP’s, need to have an administration account in order to access this backoffice. The frontoffice user can perform different type of actions, as mentioned before the use cases have to be issued in a following phase. Some examples will be user registration, user login / logout, password forgotten, reading help pages, terms and conditions, etc. Also setting and changing user preferences such as language, default location and the price / CO2 preference, after logging in the user can make a request to put or a request to get with multiple variables as location, container info, date/time, are examples of functionality. PITS Flyer


Model engine

The purpose of the model engine is to provide routing services for a schedule based multimodal freight transport network. The routing service will be a versatile service that considers routing choices comprised of tradeoffs between time, cost and environmental impacts. The goal of the projects is to develop a versatile route choice engine, which will benefit not only PITS, but also future detailed studies of the green corridors in EU. The routing engine will route freight order request from a given source to a given destination in the specified time interval, assuming unrestricted availability of all network links supplied by the schedule data layer. Furthermore the engine will focus on routing between the nodes in the supplied transport network and assume that the remaining customer->node transport can be handled by road network transport. The implementation must focus on suiting a web application. Therefore strong focus must be kept on keeping the Routing Network in an algorithmic read-only state, since this will reduce locking in the search space and provide a solid foundation for parallel execution and thus multi-user searches.

Database layer

The database layer contains data about logistic processes by airplane, ship, train and truck in terms of (capacity and) scheduling. This data is the basis for the model engine to identify the greenest way to transport certain freight from A to B. In phase 2, the data will be provided by the logistic companies itself and will be added into the database layer via a back office network interface. The database layer is SQL based and provided with an API to communicate with the model engine and the backoffice.

Current situation / project stage

Currently we are working on getting phase 1 up and running for the demonstration in Örebro. All the three layers are implemented and the interfacing between the layers is working. From bottom-up the database is filled with 8000 rows of schedule information by HILOG. The Model engine by DTU requests this data through the datalayer and creates a routing network from this data. The screenshot below shows the frontoffice by Target Holding where the user can enter his/her freight information and preferences for the shipment. When the user clicks the “Find routes!” button the Model engine gets this request and the algorithm calculates a best route.



Besides the team has created a flyer for presentation purposes which will be available as attachment.

In order to streamline the development process Target Holding has created a Virtual Machine with the PITS environment (software) running on it. For presentation purposes of the PITS platform (marketplace) Target Holding has also set up a hosting solution for this. DTU has created a toolbox for running all kind of data analysis and statistical information on the database. In this way HILOG was able to deliver a clean dataset. The project will also use a so called Users Committee to be able to get feedback on the proposed marketplace from potential users (commercial organizations). Target Holding has also set up software to provide functionality to the Users Committee. DTU is working on an assessment tool for the Green Corridors with Green zones and Supergreen zones. Additional information will be provided on this in a later report.

Phasing and scope

The scope of the pilot is stated as a proof of concept consisting of 2 phases. Phase 1 starts with a relatively simple algorithm and simple testdata. Phase 2 adds complexity where more variables and parameters are used from the database in the algorithms.

Expected result after the pilot project

The image below displays the essence of the PITS platform: to present schedule information for the best suited route to the user on how his/her freight can be moved from A to B based on the preferences time, price and CO2.