Blockchain describes an innovative IT solution including the special feature of resistance to post-manipulation. Its functionality is similar to the concept of bookkeeping and can eliminate or at least substantially reduce the risk of manipulation in one single place by means of decentralized and distributed data storage. Currently, this method is mainly used as a technical basis for so-called cryptocurrencies (e.g. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Monero). However, it is conceivable to apply the technology also to topics outside the financial sector, for example, in passenger mobility and freight transport.
Intelligent or smart contracts can be identified as an exemplary area of 'use in the field of' mobility, where contracting is technically supported between service providers and customers. These contracts can be monitored in real-time and the service can be automatically enforced. The human factor is thereby eliminated as a potential source of error. Smart contracts can theoretically be used when several parties jointly create a complex transport service in order to meet a customer's mobility needs. Through the employment of blockchain or distributed-ledger technology, the transaction costs (and as such the operational risk) of these contracting parties is substantially reduced and the process is carried out in a standardized and trustworthy manner.
Within the framework of the PLOGchain project, a bidding group consisting of the Institute for Transport and Logistics Management of the Vienna University of Economics and Business, nast Consulting ZT GmbH, the Centre of Transportation System Planning of the Vienna University of Technology and the Vienom OG systematically evaluates different deployment scenarios of blockchain and distributed-ledger technology in the areas of passenger transport and logistics. Based on design science research (DSR), in a first step, potential fields of application are identified by means of incorporating creative methods (e.g. brainstorming workshops). These preliminary findings are then concretized and modelled in a broad stakeholder process, systemized and constantly evaluated in a multidimensional manner (including economic, technical, socioeconomic and ecological aspects). In order to ensure high practicability and generalizability of our findings, representatives of potentially affected (or interested) companies, technical experts and political decision-makers are to be brought together in a stakeholder process. Based on the findings directional strategies, implications for research and development (FTI roadmaps) as well as suitable measures for policy design and for practitioners can be inferred.