Who is part of geofencing? Actors: their roles and interactions in connected freight transport systems
Other conference contribution, 2021

This paper focus on technological development and innovation in industrial networks. Technological development and innovation are studied as interactive phenomenon based on the Industrial Marketing and Purchasing (IMP) tradition (Håkansson & Snehota, 1995; Håkansson, Ford, Gadde, Snehota, Waluszewski, 2009). These studies emphasize interaction and business relationships in industrial networks.

 The context of the study underlying the paper are technologies and services enabled by developments in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in freight transport settings. More specifically, the study focus on the emerging digital tool of geofencing as a part of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) enabled by ICT. Geofencing enables traffic related applications by assuring certain vehicle behaviors when the vehicle enters or exits a geographical defined area and triggers some kind of action in the vehicle such as switch of powertrain in a hybrid-vehicle, warning signaling and speed adjustment. Its main focus is to increase road transport safety and to reduce emissions by ensuring a certain vehicle behavior in certain areas, often where vehicles and vulnerable road users co-exist. According to Böhm (2019), ITS challenge the traditional role of road operators and introduce new actors in managing transport and traffic. Geofencing, as part of ITS, is no exception. There is little knowledge on which actors and stakeholders that are involved in a geofencing network, how they interact and what their potential roles are. This is made more complex as several identified geofencing-applications depend on both operational and regulative public-private interaction. Furthermore, new actors and disruptive business models will also affect the network by introducing new resources such as data platforms and tools for traffic management.

With this paper, we aim to investigate industrial networks within geofencing-applications for freight transport. This is done by answering two research questions (i) which are the key actors and stakeholders and what are their roles in a geofencing network? and (ii) which interactions are taking place between these actors? By answering these research questions, we will expand the knowledge about the organizing of geofencing and how its technological development is enabled thorough interaction between actors. 

The research intends to fulfill this aim by conducting qualitative research, namely a case study. We have chosen to base our study in Sweden, as it is a country where the development of geofencing, as well as its implementation, has come quite far. To this point 14 semi-structured interviews have been conducted with knowledgeable respondents from both public and private organizations who are either involved in various projects for geofencing development or in strategic positions for freight transport planning and development. The analysis consists of thematic coding of transcripts in order to map different actors and their interactions in different settings by using theoretic concepts.

The empirical data is from the city of Gothenburg and city of Stockholm, where geofencing is under development and implementation is made in various forms. In Gothenburg, geofencing is used in public transport but different projects are undergoing for introducing applications in urban freight settings. In Stockholm, geofencing is used in a pilot project to ensure silent off-peak deliveries of freight by forcing electric powertrain on a heavy-duty vehicle within certain geographic areas. Other projects that are ongoing, in pilot-form, involve geofencing for dynamic speed adaptation in congested areas and access control.

To better understand the disruptive changes in actor interaction, this research will take an Industrial Network Approach (INA) as part of IMP in the three settings of developing, producing and using (Håkansson & Waluszewski, 2007; Ingemansson, 2010). The INA approach studies the relationships among actors from different perspectives and how the relationships and roles develops over time (Håkansson & Snehota, 1995). It is based on conceptual principles of interaction processes and value co-creation between connected firms, which in relation to ITS and geofencing can take new forms. By relying on INA and identify the interrelations, interdependencies and objectives of the different actors, it can contribute to an understanding of the underlying mechanisms in the development, production and usage of new ITS-services and applications.

Our study shows that there are multiple actors involved in development, production and usage of geofencing and that it depends on public-private interaction and collaboration. It relies on cross-sectional interaction in different organizational levels and in different operational and regulative settings. The engagement of actors also differs in relation to the three settings of developing, producing and using. Public actors, consisting of public and national road authorities and agencies, mainly interact between different municipal divisions and with national agencies, mainly for measures regarding regulation and data sharing. Public actors are in some form engaged in all three phases of development, production and usage. Private actors, consisting of service providers such as vehicle manufacturers, users such as transport operators and enablers such as map service providers mainly interact in measures for data sharing and various service exchanges. Different private actors are involved in different settings of development, production and usage. At the moment a lot of interaction between public and private actors are being explored in various innovation-projects, however, there is no unity in the proposed interaction between public and private organizations for geofencing in the production and usage phase. This mainly surrounds the aspect of data sharing between public and private actors to enable different dynamic geofencing-applications. There is also a common view that traditional actors, such as road operators, will need to take a more active role in traffic management when geofencing is more developed, especially for dynamic geofencing functions.




developing setting


Industrial network approach



Hannes Lindkvist

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Supply and Operations Management

Frida Lind

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Supply and Operations Management

Lisa Melander

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Supply and Operations Management

The 37th annual IMP conference
Cork (digital), Ireland,

Interactions and role development in the geofence network

Chalmers, 2020-04-01 -- 2025-04-30.

Areas of Advance

Information and Communication Technology


Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Innovation and entrepreneurship

Subject Categories

Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified

Business Administration

More information


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