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Sustainable Transport Systems

The Future of Mobility

How can transport systems be designed to move people and freight to their destination in a manner that is both ecologically and economically sustainable? In the focus research area of transport systems, the Institute for Sustainable Development assesses the mobility of people and goods and develops sustainable solutions.

Transport systems connect places, make people mobile and enable the movement of freight. Regions with differing qualities of location can complement one another and, in the best-case scenario, the mobility of people and freight guarantees a functional society and economy. In order to achieve this, a transport system must constantly evolve. The growth of populations, economies and incomes contributes to increased traffic volumes. Global networking and the further development of transport technology are also speeding up the process. The growing demand for mobility introduces new challenges for political and business leaders. With increasing distances, frequencies and speeds in traffic, the burden of traffic volume, noise and emissions also expands.

Focus Areas

Adapting transport systems for people and freight is one of the greatest challenges facing us in both the present and the future. New technologies and traffic schemes offer potential solutions to ensure sustainable mobility for people and develop a more integral design for freight logistics.  In developing these solutions, it is essential to anticipate future developments and identify suitable strategies for technology development as well as for transport policy and planning. In doing this, we focus on the following aspects:

  • system analysis of mobility and freight transport
  • foresight with regard to system development and sustainability
  • definition of future demands on mobility, freight and traffic systems and related technologies
  • assessment of technologies in terms of their potential
  • support for sustainability-related decision-making processes in industry, politics and planning
  • development of strategies, road maps and mobility concepts

Planning for the future requires orientation, and the INE’s guiding principle is sustainability. The criterion for sustainability we apply is the conservation of livelihood resources in a broad sense, i.e., including natural resources, economic resources and social resources. Within the scope of this objective, sustainable mobility is based on a transport and freight system that maintains quality of life, increases economic competitiveness and minimises the burden on people, the environment and the climate.

Current Projects


Walking or cycling satisfies commuters most

In the Basel area, new mobility solutions are available to commuters in addition to cars and public transport. However, according to a study conducted by the ZHAW, commuters are not open to carpooling yet. What's more, people still know too little about such alternatives.

The goal of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is to combinedifferent mobility services provided by public transport and private persons to form a unified alternative. The services on offer should be easily bookable using a mobile app and they should enable uncomplicated and handy door-to-door mobility. Ride, car and bike sharing, as well as car or bike pooling, are part of the solution. All of them promise customised public transport which, due to its flexibility, offers an attractive alternative to motorised private transport (MPT). The ZHAW School of Engineering, together with its partners from Finland and Austria, investigated MaaS potential. This cross-country analysis was promoted by... Read more →

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