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Opportunities of the Digital Baltic Road and what's needed to make it a reality

In 2018, during the 5G Techritory forum, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania signed a Memorandum of Understanding of the Baltic States on the Development of Interconnected and Automated Driving and 5G Technology in the Via Baltica digital corridor. Or the Digital Baltic Road, in short.

The project aims to connect the main Latvian, Estonian, and Finnish transport logistics corridors, synchronizing C-ITS (Corporative-Intelligent Transport Systems) operations and data exchange. That way, it is planned to optimize international logistics, mainly for large scale transport and production companies to improve their supply chain management.

How will the Digital Baltic Road work?

A 5G mobile network would get established along the part of the Via Baltica highway connecting Tallinn, Riga, and Kaunas. Vehicles would use the 5G network for data transfer between themselves, as well as for communication with the surrounding infrastructure.

Such a simultaneous presence of many devices within the network and a secure and uninterrupted data connection will lay the foundation for intelligent transport systems in the Baltics. For example, this will provide smart mobility solutions such as:

  • green light priorities
  • smart parking for trucks
  • real-time digital document management
  • safe traffic flow
  • route optimization
  • automatic compliance with the legal framework of each country
  • smart tolling system

Who will benefit from the Digital Baltic Road project?

Mainly, those will be commercial companies that would use the transport corridor with the necessity to manage and optimize their supply chain.

Overall, the Digital Baltic Road would not only improve logistics but also road safety. Therefore, successful execution will provide the Baltic region with economic, social, and environmental benefits.

What is needed for this project to become a reality?

To successfully implement the project, there are several preconditions that must be met. 

First of all, it is necessary to develop a united digital transport document and information platform. Such a platform would be used for data sharing and document management between countries and parties involved in the project.

Second, the development of an integrated optimization and logistics solution is a must. The system would collect data from the transport logistics corridor in real-time, then use this data to increase the efficiency of supply chain management.

Finally, a geospatial information system is needed that would be used for infrastructure, transport, and logistics data input and management. There also should be an application or other solution to provide information and corridor services to the end-users, like logistics companies, drivers, etc.

Conclusion

It is important to understand that the Digital Baltic Road project, as well as many other projects built on the 5G technology, needs the involvement of various stakeholder groups from multiple countries. In other words, cross-border cooperation and support for C-ITS solutions are crucially important for initiatives like this.