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Research & Innovation

We-transform: artificial and collective intelligence to address the impact of automation on the transport workforce

5 March 2021

The growth and deployment of new transport services through automation and ICT technologies is a constantly accelerating process. But this growth has a significant quantitative and qualitative impact on the workforce, and it is therefore crucial for policy makers to facilitate the adaptation of workers' skills to this new era by closing the knowledge gap in this very important area.

The impact of automation and digitalisation on the transport workforce is being investigated by WE-TRANSFORM, a European project that began in December 2020 thanks to the work of Professor Cristina Pronello, Professor of Transport at Politecnico di Torino, Interuniversity Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning - DIST. The project involves 34 partners from all over the world and from different sectors - public institutions, universities, social partners, trade unions, companies, multinationals and the legal sector - to generate a sector policy agenda based on the interaction between artificial intelligence and collective intelligence, on the collection of information and its processing through machine learning processes and discussion in groups of sector experts, companies, workers' associations and citizens.

The consortium behind WE-TRANSFORM is based on the concept of a "living hub", a body that brings together the skills and stories of different stakeholders in the sector to facilitate an exchange of value based on the validation of concrete actions, which will form part of future interventions by policy-makers and companies to help the reskilling and upskilling processes of workers, thus absorbing the effects of automation processes in the area of mobility and logistics.

The first task in addressing the impacts of digitisation and automation in the transport chain is to recognise their multiple facets. This requires a structured approach through inclusive consultation that incorporates existing and future stakeholders. WE-TRANSFORM aims to promote collectively prioritised issues on the future of jobs and working conditions related to digitisation and automation in the transport sector. To achieve this, a collaborative platform will be created that will produce knowledge that can be easily used and shared, to support durable and effective innovations that correspond to the evolving reality of workers.

WE-TRANSFORM will create a Stakeholder Forum, with several meetings planned during the project. Stakeholders from different regions of the European Union will be involved through the consortium partners. The Forum and the Advisory Board (technical and marketing advisor of the project) will contribute to the identification and involvement of stakeholders in the activities of the transnational living hub, enabling a collaborative learning process among participants. The use of a variety of techniques will help to collect data and produce knowledge (e.g. interviews, public consultations, serious games activities). Thus, information will be analysed to generate the action-oriented agenda available to policy-makers to make their choices.

The project was awarded under the H2020-MG-2018-2019-2020 call for proposals of the Horizon 2020 programme. The consortium, coordinated by the Politecnico di Torino, is composed of: Union Internationale del Chemins de Fer (Francia), Mercedes-Benz (Germania), Hitachi Rail STS SpA, POLIS – Promotion of Operational Links with Integrated Services – Association Internationale (Belgio), Ferrovie dello Stato SpA, ERTICO ITS EUR (Belgio), VPF Valenciaport (Spagna), AustriaTech (Austria), Leonardo, TTI (Lettonia), Trainose (Grecia), FILT CGIL, FIT CISL, UIL Trasporti, EMT Valencia SA (Spagna), ATTIKO Metro AE (Grecia), CILT(UK) Polska (Polonia), LGI Consulting (Francia), BT Tampere (Finlandia), EF – Idryma Evgenidou (Grecia), VIRTECH OOD (Bulgaria), UAegean University (Grecia), Univerity of Surrey (Regno Unito), Institut VEDECOM (Francia), Univerity West Attika (Grecia), Mission Publiques (Francia), Fabrìque – Avvocati associati, Six Seconds (Stati Uniti), Advanis Inc. (Canada), Kyungil University Corea del Sud), Nagoya University (Giappone), UNLV – Board of Regents of Nevada System of Higher Education (Stati Uniti), KEOLIS (Francia).