Our projects

Smart Commuting – Live @ ZHAW

On 20th and 21st March 2017, the second live meeting of the Smart Commuting project was hosted by ZHAW INE. With 20 participants from Switzerland, Finland, Austria, Czech Republic and England the potentials of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) in commuting were elaborated on intensely. How can new socio-technical innovations, such as MaaS, be effectively introduced and spread? To give answers to this question, we must not only look at the innovation (or technology) itself and its potential users, but also at the frame conditions. The first results of the research indicate important differences between the countries of our case studies. Whereas governmental structures in Finland (case Helskinki-Tampere) are very much top-down structured, the federal systems of Austria (case Korneuburg) and Switzerland (case Basel-Stadt) require many different political stakeholders to be involved. In the Swiss case, we need to consider especially the national, cantonal and municipal actors from politics and administration. However, also stakeholders from other fields, such as technology development, economy, etc. need to be considered. To develop a more comprehensive view, this issue was discussed on several agenda items during the meeting. One of our expert workshops specifically worked on best practices in governance and stakeholder involvement in supporting social innovation. It showed that one aspect is very essential for all cases: the desire for novelty and the openness to new ideas, as well as the willingness to give them a real chance. After all, personal contacts between the stakeholders are fundamental. This insight is addressed in further detail in the ongoing and next steps of the project with the specific focus on the Situation in Basel-Stadt.

Smart Commuting

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) – A new approach for a better commuting system in Switzerland?

The mobility needs of the Swiss workforce are changing – Within the ENSCC Smart Commuting Project, the Institute for Sustainable Development of ZHAW explores how to improve the commuting systems of tomorrow along with their project partners from Finland and Austria.

The importance of work-related travelling significantly increased during the last few years: The number of total commuters in Switzerland increased from 3.1 to 3.9 million between 2000 and 2014. That is a substantial augmentation by almost 26%. Additionally, the distances between workplace and home got longer. In 2014 the average way to work measured 14.5 km, which is 12% more than in the year 2000 (12.9 km). And this trend seems to be persistent.

Not only is the general travel demand rising, but also are needs and requirements regarding the journey itself evolving: More dynamic lifestyles, the increased digitalization throughout society and a changing work life are questioning the up-to-dateness of our current transportation systems.

The ENSCC Smart Commuting project examines the abovementioned developments and wants to find out how new types of mobility concepts, such as Mobility as a Service (MaaS), can help to resolve these challenges. The project consortium consists of ten partners in total, amongst the INE of ZHAW the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Austria and Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland. Especially in Finland systems like MaaS are already in daily use and so the project can highly draw on this international collaboration.

MaaS are mostly smartphone-based systems that offer access and information to all kinds of transportation modes and services. Therefore, it becomes possible to create user-specific and tailor-made mobility offers including different types of transport.The payment is directly handled by the smartphone-app, the process and the selection of the travel options is easy and straightforward. The trip can be optimized depending on the users’ travel demands: If, for example, somebody needs to transport goods, the app will specifically suggest to take an ‘Uber’ or to use cargo-bike rental instead of public transport. Therefore, MaaS helps to meet commuters’ new needs and demands and can promote sharing services, which can also be a substantial contribution to a more sustainable transportation system.

As the ENSCC Smart Commuting project also collaborates with the Office of Mobility of the Canton of Basel-Stadt, a case study will be performed in the Basel area. We will evaluate the potential for systems like MaaS and develop implementation strategies. Thus, it is quite possible to see a rise of such new mobility offers also in Switzerland, improving your daily commute to work. Stay informed about the project on this blog, on our website https://smartcommuting.eu/ or on twitter using the hashtag #ensccsmart.



Beyond Mobine

Experience Supply Chain Excellence on site: Logistics Students visit SMART assembly plant and UPS night shift

In this semester, students of the bachelor courses in transport systems and business engineering have again undertaken an exciting excursion to the smart plant in Hambach / France and to the UPS European Air Hub at the Cologne-Bonn Airport to study the methods and knowledge acquired in the course of supply chain management in practice close up.

This year again, bachelor students of the fifth semester had the opportunity to experience real logistics processes in real on site. In a double excursion, the assembly plant of the Daimler subsidiary SMART in Hambach, France, was first explored. Afterwards, the engineers had the opportunity to observe the outstanding night operations at the UPS Air Hub at the Cologne / Bonn airport, one of the three largest UPS parcel service cross docking centers in the world.

The two lecturers, Stefan Dingerkus and Remo Eigenmann, are keen on practice oriented lecturing methods in their modules and offer exciting excursions every year.

E-Destination Bodensee

12th Cosmobilities Network Conference on Sharing Mobilites: Helene Schmelzer contributes with her presentation about sharing on business level

The mobility world is massively changing. New policies, new modes of transport and new socio-spatial practices of mobilities are on the rise. Experts from different disciplines and countries came together at the 12th Cosmobilities Network Conference in Bad Boll, from the 30th of November to the 2nd of December 2016, in order to exchange on new forms of sharing concepts and their consequences.

In her talk about sharing on business level Helene Schmelzer pointed out that the process of setting up cooperation needs to be considered. At the same time regulation plays a crucial role, as the willingness to share with competitors grows with the right incentives or pressure. A framework has to be elaborated that brings competitors together, allows an exchange of ideas and gives time to build up the necessary trust. Giving examples of different research projects she showed that regulations and incentives foster the success of such collaborations. At the same time there is the need and potential for coordination of sharing activities between businesses. Based on these results the presentation initiated a discussion on how to facilitate sharing in business context by supporting social actors and on the role of decision makers in policy and planning to create the adequate conditions.



Project E-Destination: Cooperation of charging station operators in charging networks

Beyond Mobine

MSE-students discovered the industrial world in China together with Chinese students from Dongguan

In 2016 the MSE-China Module was conducted already for the 8th time. 33 MSE master students, including also two Chinese participants from Dongguan participated in the three-week-course including a stay in China.

The program has started in Lugano, where the participants were introduced to their trip to China through several lectures and workshops. They were also introduced to their assignments to be carried out in teams. Visits to the Swiss companies AgieCharmilles in Losone und Geberit in Jona were very valuable, as the participants could experience the relevance of innovation capabilities and lean production for the international competitiveness of the Swiss economy from first hand sources. The Chinese Embassy in Bern invited the participants for an afternoon session on Chinese culture, history, economy and language, followed by a reception with the Chinese Ambassador.

Supported by swissnex China, the group had the opportunity to visit several companies and universities in cities as Shanghai, Suzhou, Dongguan

or Beijing. Company chairmen and professors as well as officials from the government showed how businesses work out in China. Inspired by the interesting insights some students even decide to apply for either a job or an internship in a Chinese company.

During numerous company visits and research institutes in China the students should outline their findings to topics as “production”, “logistics”, “design” as well as “human resources” and compare their impressions of each company and the two countries. The field trips and lectures have been completed by receptions and speeches of the responsible Swiss Consul General in Shanghai and the Swiss Consul General in Guangzhou giving the students first hand insight into the Sino-Swiss cooperation from the view of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

The program is organized by ISTEP (SUPSI) and INE (ZHAW) and aims to educate engineers with an interest in technology transfer and innovation engineering, international supply chains and intercultural management. Tiziano Leïdi from SUPSI and Stefan Dingerkus, senior lecturer for logistics at INE, are looking forward to 2017’s program.


Stefan Dingerkus, INE Institute for Sustainable Development/Integral Logistics,

E-Mail: stefan.dingerkus(at)zhaw.ch



Participants of the 2016 MSE China Module (Visit to Geberit AG, Jona)

Participants of the 2016 MSE China Module (Visit to Geberit AG, Jona)

Field trip to Variosystems Electronics (Suzhou) Co.,Ltd., Suzhou

Field trip to Variosystems Electronics (Suzhou) Co.,Ltd., Suzhou