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Research projects

Transition acceleration challenges in hard-to-abate industry sectors: The case of road freight transport

About this project

Project information

Project status

In progress 2020 - 2025


Frans Prenkert

Research subject

Research environments

The doctoral project of Sophie-Marie Ertelt bridges sustainable transitions research, innovation management studies to addresses the challenges that arise from the development, management, and deliberate acceleration attempts of path-breaking systemic innovations that enable a transition to a low-carbon society. After decades of making little or even negative aggregate progress when it comes to reducing carbon emissions, the current socio-technical regime of road freight transport is in a transformative stage, faced with the challenge of addressing its substantial contribution to climate change. 

The empirical focus of the research thus, sits at the intersection of the various disruptive changes that currently propel this transformation such as the electrification, and the implementation of circular oriented practices in combination with the primary technological drivers of Industry 4.0 such as AI (e.g., autonomous vehicles), digitization (e.g., Freight broker IT platforms) and “smart” service-based business model innovations (e.g., Transport-as-a-service) orchestrated with intelligent systems of data sharing and IT.Given the multidimensional nature of this ongoing transition the research explores five specific acceleration challenges: 1) Multi-system interactions between transport, energy, and ICT sectors to enable electrification; 2) Value chain reconfigurations towards a circular economy; 3) Demand-side solutions for electrified road-freight transport; 4) Governance challenges of low-carbon technology diffusions; and 5) The nexus of decline and innovation in the heavy-duty vehicle sector

This project thus, aims to develop advanced knowledge on the challenges of accelerating transitionsin hard-to-abate industry sector and the role systemic innovations and technological drivers could play to contribute to more socially, economically, and ecologically sustainable solutions, increase circularity, and overall efficiency of the logistics systems. The project is carried out in close collaboration with private- and public-sector stakeholders along the freight transport value chain including the freight owners, haulers, technology and service suppliers, local/regional authorities, transportation agencies, electricity suppliers, as well as, environmental and community groups. 

Research funding bodies

  • The Swedish Research School on Management and IT (MIT)
  • Region Örebro County
  • Örebro University