Our activity

The Future of Mobility

The Swiss Energy Symposium in Zurich discussed the future of mobility with more than 200 participants and a variety of speakers addressing different topics. Merja Hoppe presented an overview on technological, social, economic and political trends.

Merja Hoppe speaking at the SES Symposium 2018 (Source: energiestiftung.ch)

Together these trends – such as autonomous driving, change of lifestyle and new app-based mobility solutions – are expected to change how we travel in the future in a fundamental way. Less clear is the direction of this transformation. As future does not happen occasionally, the question of future mobility is not one of anticipating the future, but of deciding on the future we want to have. Having the principles of sustainability in mind for mobility this might mean shifting our focus and decisions: from (material) living standard to quality of live ; from wealth to well-being ; from consuming to using ; from auto-mobility to individualized public transport ; from efficiency to sufficiency.

Presentations of the day are available at (in German) Slides as pdf


MobINE at ICTTE Belgrade 2018

After three successfully organized International Conferences on Traffic and Transport Engineering in recent years, the city of Belgrade hosted from 27-28 September 2018 for the fourth time the ICTTE Belgrade 2018, including the H2020 project INTEND final event.

The conference covered a wide range of topics related to traffic and transportation engineering, with the aim of representing the importance of all modes of traffic and transport, especially the importance of improving these industries, and their compliance to sustainable development. The conference was jointly organized by the City Net Scientific Research Center Ltd. Belgrade, University of Belgrade, Faculty of Transport and Traffic Engineering and H2020 project INTEND (Indentify Future Transport Research Needs, GA no. 769638).

Dr. Merja Hoppe speaking @ ICTTE Belgrade 2018

As a member of the INTEND project consortium, the MobINE presented the final results of its corresponding work package Paving the way to future – guidelines for a forward looking transport sector, focussing on gaps and blind spots in transportation research as well as recommendations for future research priorities for a sustainable and competitive European transport sector.

In addition, results from a case study on the potential of electromobility as an enabler for system transformation in the Lake Constance region were presented in a second session.


Find the conference proceedings under the following link Conference Proceedings.

For more information about the conference, visit the conference homepage ICTTE Belgrade 2018.


Expert’s assessment on evolutionary developments in the transport system

In the course of the ongoing work for the INTEND project – which aims to identify future transport research needs and priorities – an online survey was conducted to validate hypotheses on the evolutionary development of the transport system. The survey addressed in particular transport related representatives from the academia, industry and policy sector and focused on the following main topics:

  • innovations in transport technologies and their impact on the transport system
  • the changing transport market
  • the sustainability of the transport system
  • the role of the policy with regard to emerging technologies and sustainability

Results show, that autonomous vehicle systems are expected to have rather positive than negative impacts on the transport system in the future, for instance due to more efficient traffic flows and better capacity utilization. However, large-scale implementations of autonomous driving systems are expected to be implemented first in cargo/freight than in passenger transportation and probably also in urban rather than in rural areas. With regard to passenger transportation, there is a strong tendency visible, that autonomous vehicle systems will be in use rather as mobility service than in private ownership. However, it remains unclear what effects autonomous driving systems will have on the spatial development and whether they will reinforce a decentralised spatial development in the future or not. In the field of UAV technology, it is expected that drones will be used more likely in cargo/freight transportation than in passenger transportation in the future.Participants’ assessment on the deployment of autonomous vehicle systems in different cases and applications (Data: ZHAW / n=106)

Regarding future changes in the transport market, there is a significant tendency visible, that private car ownership will decrease in the future due to newly emerging mobility products and services. This assessment also coincides with the experts’ expectation that the competitor’s landscape in the transport market will change in the future because of new players entering the market and challenging traditional mobility providers. In addition, the sharing of mobility rides is expected to have a high potential in the future whereas revolutionary transport concepts such as the Hyperloop One are not expected for being implemented on a large-scale. An integration into the transport system is therefore rather likely on heavily frequented routes in the medium-distance segment.

Regarding the impact of technological innovations on the sustainability of the transport system, there is a strong tendency visible that the increasing electrification of drivetrains could have positive impacts on the sustainability. However, the negative impacts resulting from the battery production are generally seen as less relevant within this context. In addition, there is a significant tendency visible, that lightweight construction could have a positive impact on the sustainability, for instance due to synergies with electric mobility.

Participants’ assessment on the attitude of the policy against innovations (Data: ZHAW / n=106)

Ultimately, survey results show that – with regard to newly emerging technologies – the policy is lagging behind and the regulatory framework conditions are not up to date at the moment. In addition, internalisation of negative external effects are expected to be crucial in the future, in order to achieve sustainability within transport (in contrast to a free market economy, which is expected to fail in this context).

The results of the online survey, as well as the findings of the initial desk research and the following expert interviews will be synthesized in a final work step, in order to draw a sketch of the future transport system, the main outcome in the first out of two deliverables for which the ZHAW is responsible within the INTEND project. This sketch will further on provide the basis to illustrate and understand the research needs, priorities and opportunities coming up with the transformation of the transport system – the main task in our second deliverable.

For more information about INTEND, visit the project Homepage or follow the latest news on TwitterFacebook or LinkedIn.

Beyond Mobine

Who will switch to the long-distance bus?

Long-distance bus lines have recently enjoyed great success in Germany. But could they also compete with railways in Switzerland? Transportation systems graduates Samuel Bissig and Philipp Hess investigated this question in their bachelor thesis.

Long-distance buses waiting for their departure in Chur, Switzerland. ©Julian Ryf

The first long-distance bus lines within Switzerland started operating in June 2018 – more could follow. Whether and how many passengers will change from the train to the bus has not yet been scientifically predicted. On behalf of the Schweizerischen Südostbahn AG (SOB), Samuel Bissig and Philipp Hess have taken up this topic. In cooperation with SBB, SOB will take over the long-distance traffic line over the Gotthard mountain route from Basel and Zurich to Locarno. A cooperation between SOB and SBB is also planned on the Bern-Zurich-Chur corridor. For the graduates, the central question was whether a Swiss long-distance bus offer could be a competition for these corridors of the SOB-SBB cooperation.

Commuters are not a relevant user group

Specifically, Samuel Bissig and Philipp Hess investigated the potential of different user groups for long-distance buses in Switzerland and performed a survey among them. Furthermore, they carried out a detailed situation analysis of the described corridors and the long-distance bus market in Germany and nearby countries. Based on the demographic data and the survey results on the purpose and travel entitlements, the graduates were able to create user profiles. “We have chosen the groups of people we believe have the greatest potential for a long-distance bus operator,” says Samuel Bissig. “The survey showed, for example, that there is very little demand among commuters for long-distance buses as a means of transport to work.

The key is the ticket price

Samuel Bissig (left) and Philipp Hess have investigated the potential of long-distance buses in Switzerland.

Based on the survey results, the graduates created user profiles and calculated the potential of the respective user group. They entirely focused on leisure traffic. “More than 20 percent of all respondents who fall into this defined user group would use a Swiss long-distance bus offer”, says Samuel Bissig and adds: “That means they could imagine using it, if the price would be attractive.” According to the graduates’ survey, the ticket price is the most important criteria, even before the travel time. Comfort and on-board service hardly contribute to the decision. “While in Germany the long-distance bus with Wifi scored points compared to the railway, this is less important in Switzerland,” says Philipp Hess.

Potential exists

With the help of SBB passenger figures, it was possible to define for each user group how many people on the respective corridors could switch from the train to the long-distance bus. During the week, according to their calculations, only under one percent of all journeys made by rail have potential to be substituted by long-distance buses. On Saturday this figure is over three percent, on Sundays over five percent. “These figures may sound low, but in terms of rail traffic throughout Switzerland, that means several hundred people – enough to load a few buses,” says Samuel Bissig, summing up: “This means that although the potential is not as great as in Germany, price-sensitive customers are likely to migrate from the railways to the long-distance bus.”


Our activity

Visit MobINE at SES 2018 conference on Friday, 21th September, in Zurich

The “future of mobility” seems within reach. Autonomous driving, electric vehicles and smart traffic concepts; great hopes are placed on technological change. But the reality is different. It is not the future that dominates the present picture, but structures of the past: overpowered cars, traffic jams, noise, high CO2 emissions and energy consumption.

Energy policy is transportation policy. The transportation sector is one of the largest energy consumers, responsible for one third of our total energy consumption. It also generates around one third of Switzerland’s CO2 emissions. The energy revolution therefore includes a paradigm change in transport. But what instruments and measures are required for this endeavour? Join our journey to find the answers at the SES 2018 conference in Zurich.

The conference will highlight the links between mobility, transport and energy. It provides inputs on how politics and business can promote sustainable mobility behaviour. And it encourages new ways of thinking about how we can start the much-needed change in mobility and transportation.

Dr. Merja Hoppe from MobINE will give a keynote speech on sustainable, multimodal and modern mobility systems. Visit the event and discuss with us. All information and registration is available at https://www.energiestiftung.ch/veranstaltung/fachtagung-2018-mobilitaet-der-zukunft.html