Exchange between logistics parties, bundling deliveries and sharing storage and transport capacity offer opportunities for more efficient and sustainable logistics and mobility.

An example of this is the Physical Internet (PI). This is a vision of the future for fully open and connected logistics networks, in which physical, digital, operational and financial connections are central. But also initiatives like Hubs and MaaS are part of this. Our goal is to contribute to the development and testing of sharing concepts in open and connected networks for sharing infrastructure, resources, information, risks, tasks, etc.

Drinkwater op hub centrum Leek.
Open and connected networks

Main theme

In open and connected logistics networks, tasks, resources, data, space and responsibilities can be shared for a more efficient chain. For example, a carrier may make unused trucks available, a public transportation company may provide access to its passenger hubs for freight transfer or risks may be shared between companies to set up a hydrogen facility.

Foto hub met fietsenstalling, bushalte en bus.
Open and connected networks

The future of

Whether it concerns the transport of freight, or public transport in new innovative and sustainable forms. In the future, freight and people transport will increasingly use open and connected networks to effectively enable more efficient and sustainable mobility and logistics. To achieve this, it is important to develop better methodologies for sharing goods and passengers and to further develop concepts such as “Mobility as a shared service” and “Hubs”. We also want to know whether new revenue, organization and governance models are conceivable for these new forms of transport. But also what the role is of technology, ethics, behaviour, law and trust with regard to these concepts. With the arrival of 5G, it is interesting to see how the network can be used in open and connected mobility and logistics networks.

Open and connected networks


Shared connectivity in Mobility and Logistics Enable Sustainability -SMiLES-

SMiLES is a ‘living lab’, in which we use the northern region as a test center for the opportunities of logistics sharing systems. At the same time, we try to understand which barriers there are and how we can tackle them. Together with seven faculties of the University of Groningen, the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, the Noorderpoort and some of the most important public and private partners from the region, we are looking at the economic, technical, legal, ethical and psychological opportunities and barriers of various logistics sharing systems. We want the living lab to be a place where science, practice and education gather, to work together for a sustainable future.

This research project is part of the research programme Sustainable Living Labs, which is co-financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO), the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Taskforce for Applied Research (SIA) and the Top Sector Logistics.