Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About us Practical matters How to find us prof. dr. K.J. (Kees Jan) Roodbergen

SMiLES: Shared connectivity in Mobility and Logistics Enable Sustainability

SMiLES: Shared connectivity in Mobility and Logistics Enable Sustainability


Subsidy from: NWO, TKI Dinalog, Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management
Time period: 2019-2024

Consortium Partners: University of Groningen, Qbuzz Public Transport, Koopman Logistics Group, Arriva Passenger Transport Netherlands, Bidfood, Wagenborg, Suikerunie, KPN, Natuur & Milieu, Province of Groningen, Gemeente Groningen, Groningen Bereikbaar, Port of Lauwersoog, Horus View and Explore B.V., New Energy Coalition Foundation, Next Generation Shipyards, OV bureau Groningen Drenthe, Vinturas, 5Groningen, Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Noorderpoort.

Societal challenges such as global warming and an increasing population invite us to reconsider logistical systems. In this project, we focus on open sharing networks based on the architecture of the Physical Internet. In such systems, stakeholders can share tasks (transport jobs), resources (vehicles, personnel, 3D-printers), information (data, algorithms), space (infrastructure, buildings), and responsibilities (contracts, risks, rights, liabilities), depending on their preferences and their business. Different companies can offer different services and each company need not participate in each service. For example, a carrier can make available its unused trucks, a public transport company may offer access to its hubs for goods transfers, transport over water may be facilitated by shared connectivity over land, or risks can be shared between companies to establish a hydrogen facility.

Professors of seven faculties of University of Groningen will work together with consortium partners. Our interdisciplinary approach brings together researchers with a background in philosophy, law, behavioural science, spatial science, logistics, and engineering. SMiLES is built on the pillar of public-private-people partnership. As such, we have a wide network of stakeholders involved in our project directly from different sectors that participate in the studies and practice with the aim to implement outcomes.

Project goals

The overarching goal of this project is to establish a Living Lab to (1) study barriers and opportunities for open sharing networks in a comprehensive way through an interdisciplinary lens; (2) develop innovative business and organisation models for open sharing networks to enable efficient, effective and emission-free transport; (3) investigate the role of technology, human behaviour, ethical and legal boundaries, trust, governance, information and privacy considerations on the functioning of an open sharing network; (4) perform studies in practice to gain new insights from practice for theory development, as well as to test concepts in a public-private-people cooperation.

Faculty of Economics and Business

At the Faculty of Economics and Business we will investigate the case of dedicated and shared resources (trucks, workers) deployed for transport of products. Loads might be transferred from one truck to another at intermediate depots. The objective of this workpackage are (1) Determine how resource planning, assignment of tasks to resources, and vehicles’ routing can be aligned best in a sharing network; (2) Explore what the best mix of dedicated and shared resources is in shared networks; (3) For companies offering tasks or resources to the network, explore what the effects are of their offerings (in price, availability or otherwise) on the planning and on the resilience of the operations.

Our approach plans to design an integrated solution method for addressing three decision problems, namely 1) the day-to-day routing problems 2) the planning of resources, and 3) the location problem for shared facilities. A series of numerical experiments supports the valorisation of the developed models. The aim is to gain insights in the interplay between various factors involved in the sharing network, explicitly looking into the differences of using marketplaces or coordination. We pay attention to the robustness of selected strategies and test the resilience of the system designed. Using input and data from partners in the consortium, various scenarios are formulated.

Living lab in the North of the Netherlands

Our living lab will be co-located with the Mobility Innovation Centre (MIC), an expertise centre and testing ground that was launched on July 5, 2019 in the North of the Netherlands. This enables us to experiment and test both in cities and low-density regions including the Wadden islands. Cities as Groningen and Leeuwarden have a clear agenda to become smart and sustainable cities. Two of the central innovation themes of the North of the Netherlands are clean energy and water. The logistics sector is an important sector in the North of the Netherlands. The living lab provides a playing field for instantly-applicable short-term and long-term research with a large number of stakeholders. Data can be collected for evaluation purposes. Due to the variety in environments and organizations participating in the project, learning experiences and results are expected to be applicable to the Netherlands as a whole.

Last modified:12 February 2024 07.43 a.m.
View this page in: Nederlands