“Blockchain can do for business what the internet did for communication.”
– IBM –
Global Giants Joining Forces
Blockchain For Transparency
In Part 3 of “Blockchain and the Future of Mobility,” we discuss how giants in trucking and global shipping have joined forces with BiTA, and expose troubled public projects in need of blockchain’s transparency and verification.
In the previous segment of “Blockchain and the Future of Mobility – Part 1” we covered blockchain technology and its global application to sectors of transportation and auto ownership. Part 2 touched on the blockchain’s application to air and urban transportation – specifically ride-sharing, ride-hailing, and autonomous vehicle phenomenons.
The Blockchain and Trucking
Besides cryptocurrency, maybe the most exciting blockchain application is in the future of mobility and the largest organization in this space – the Blockchain in Trucking Alliance (BiTA). Today’s BiTA members include UPS, Salesforce, FedEx, UberFreight, and DAT, hailing from every corner of the trucking supply chain. As of February of this year, another 1,400 applications were still pending. BiTA members account for nearly 85% of all truck-related transactions in the U.S.A. With the exception of DAT’s paper trail of contracts and ledgers that span decades, most global shipping network like UPS, UberFreight, and FedEx have had the good fortune of being developed during the era of the Internet of Things (IoT).
Salesforce, an exclusively digital and remote customer relations management (CRM) system has an impressive client base of Fortune 500 companies. Though DAT may appear fossil-like in nature, it’s value is in it being North America’s largest truckload freight marketplace. It is also the glue that binds these entities together.
After matching DAT’s relevant data to smart contracts and verifiable ledgers, they’ll join a list of industry giants, private fleets, and small trucking companies. While it is vital to remain autonomous and competitive, the time has come to merge massive amounts of shipping and logistics data, inventory, personnel, and freight. It means uniting under one umbrella in preparation for the next chapter of global trucking.
Much More Than Just Storage
BiTA’s decentralized, transparent, and secure platform does more than just store, manage, and securely share data. The blockchain creates a verifiable and sharable ecosystem of transportation and logistics. For years, the blockchain has been managing smart contracts. These are mutual agreements between two or more parties to speed up approvals for goods while shortening processing times at customs checkpoints. Digital ledgers have been tracking supply chains for truck parts and used trucks – like “CARFAX on steroids” for many in the commercial transportation industry.
From dispute resolution to administrative efficiency and order tracking, blockchain has already addressed and fixed problems that have plagued the industry for decades. More importantly, blockchain technology allows global delivery companies to scale more rapidly than before. Traditional methods of doing business are cumbersome and soon to become obsolete, and with rising demand for same-day and one-hour delivery services, the ability to grow at one’s own pace while remaining seamlessly integrated is key.
The Blockchain and Urban Development
Transportation industry giants aren’t the only leaders who should keep their ears to the ground and thumb on the pulse of blockchain technology. A smart city is a data-driven city, one in which municipal leaders have an increasingly sophisticated understanding of conditions in the areas they oversee, including urban transportation systems. In the past, regulators used questionnaires and surveys to map user needs.
Unfortunately, when it came to designing and implementing a long-term vision for future mobility, trouble loomed ahead. Data was often ignored, misinterpreted, skewed to fit a political narrative, or driven by greed. We’ve seen this play out in dozens of transit infrastructure projects all over the world.
Smart Urban Mobility
Deloitte City Mobility Index (DCMI) offers a collection of conscious choices. Everything is based on a vision of what smart urban mobility should look like. In summary, it is an in-depth exploration into the rapid changes occurring in the way people and goods move about. The project has intermodal journeys, active transportation options such as sidewalks and bicycle lanes, and public transit playing prominent roles. To stay inside the wave of future mobility, a city must gather the right data. It also needs ask the right questions and focus on the direction of tomorrow. Last but not least, it has to stock public sector arsenals with blockchain-savvy developers.
The DCMI places economic prosperity at its core, taking a holistic view of the city’s entire mobility landscape. It only depends on clear data and images from regulators how the future of mobility unfolds in urban areas.
Troubled Government Projects
Local and federal governments could greatly benefit from the application of blockchain ledger technology. Trouble abounds in bureaucracies, exposing inefficiencies. An area of mobility with the most glaring examples of waste and abuse are U.S. state and federal Department of Transportation (DOT) agencies. Applications could consolidate labor and inventory, and manage progress.
Consider Caltrans, part of the California State Highway System responsible for design, construction, maintenance, and operation of transportation. The annual cost to California and U.S. taxpayers is a whopping US$ 17 billion. That is more than the entire US Federal Aviation Administration budget responsible for related operations, facilities, equipment, research, engineering, development, and maintenance across 50 states spanning 3.8 million square miles.
The layers of bureaucracies plagued with weak controls over spending and little or no oversight costs California taxpayers a fortune. A rough estimate are US$ 500,000 per mile in road maintenance and repair. To demonstrate, 62% of projects are completed late or not at all, with almost all projected to run grossly over-budget. Nevertheless, California lawmakers just approved a fuel tax and vehicle registration fee hike. This is to cover another US$ 52.4 billion transportation budget increase over ten years.
California is Dreaming
Caltrans isn’t alone. The Golden State’s High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) responsible for developing and implementing high-speed intercity rail service received a US$ 9 billion bond in 2009. Fast forward ten years later. The project, now nicknamed “bullet train to nowhere,” is four years behind schedule. The projected cost increase is US$ 100 billion. California is an exceptional case study in the need for Department of Transportation (DOT) accountability and transparency. Other poorly managed U.S. DOTs with up to 54% of their roads dilapidated or in poor condition include New York, Washington, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.
Bending rules is human nature, nevertheless, products are to be delivered, targets to be reached and deadlines to be met. Blockchain’s big picture is already changing things. It will alter the way we manage supply chains, labor, and planning with smart contracts and transactional ledgers. For urban transportation developers, blockchain’s immutable records can be deployed as early as the design phase. Notwithstanding, they can the keep growing throughout a project’s lifecycle.
These cloud storage systems are user-friendly, customizable, untouchable, more robust, scalable and secure. They are also far less prone to human errors, hacking attacks, or data loss. Today’s public demands accountability and transparency. The future of mobility depends on blockchain’s decentralized record system. This ensures the global safety and security of every record, purchase, and exchange. At the same time, it re- establishes the value of trust between individuals.
If you enjoyed this reading, make sure to read Part 1 of our “Blockchain and the Future of Mobility” series that covers the global effects of blockchain technology on the transportation sector, and the how it applies to auto sales, service, parts, and ownership.
Part 2 of our “Blockchain and the Future of Mobility” series touches on the airline industry and urban transportation, specifically autonomous vehicles and the the ride-share and ride-hailing phenomenon.