Interaction Infrastructure :a Holistic Approach to Support Co-Modality for Freight

by Gustafsson, Inger, PhD

Abstract (Summary)
In this thesis I have illustrated how information is essential for the management of transport chains. I have explored the notion of transparency as well as its importance for transport chains. The conclusion drawn is that transparency does not mean that every player should know everything at all times. This is not possible from the point of view of competition neither needed from a point of view of quality and efficiency of the transport chains. Instead transparency should be viewed as knowledge accessible to the players in the transport chain. Thereby enabling controllability of the common task, focus of actions on a common goal and the understanding of each player’s area of responsibility. The production of this knowledge depends on all players being aware of and respecting their role. I argue that it is not enough with cooperation between the traditional transport chain partners to reach transparency. Instead interaction with a broader set of players is required. I have chosen to cluster the extended group of players into the following three domains Transport management, Infrastructure management and Institutional management. The interaction between the domains needs to be facilitated, i.e. formalised and structured. For this I introduce the concept of Interaction Infrastructure. It helps develop a common understanding of mutual benefits of transparency, leading to a willingness to share information. It helps negotiate the different points of view and vested interest of the players involved and leads to the commitments needed for the implementation of information sharing across the domains. Interaction Infrastructure is a conceptual framework that supports the definition of the appropriate processes needed for achieving interaction in a particular context. Promoting Interaction Infrastructure is a task that requires strong leadership. Society must dare to redefine its role in the area of freight transports and to extend its involvement by starting processes that will lead to a better interaction between and within the domains and in turn, a higher overall efficiency and a reduced environmental footprint of freight transport. A policy should comprise responsibility for infrastructure in the conventional sense, but also include a responsibility for the processes performed on the infrastructure. Reaching transparency in the context that I describe will require trust and for this a change of mind set is essential including a move: • From viewing information from a silo or vertical perspective to a horizontal perspective. • From a “we and them view” to an “us view”. • From viewing the players as “providers or users” to “providers and users”. I have positioned myself and my research within a transdisciplinary practice and have experienced that awareness of situated and context sensitive knowledge as well as distributed knowledge production are good starting points for addressing logistic issues characterised by social and organisational complexity.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Blekinge Tekniska Högskola

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:SOCIAL SCIENCES; Other social sciences; Media and communication studies


Date of Publication:01/01/2008

© 2009 All Rights Reserved.