Research - 17.05.2021 - 00:00 

New Institute for Mobility (IMO-HSG)

The new Institute for Mobility (IMO-HSG) was set up on 1 April 2021. It grew out of the Institute for Customer Insight (ICI-HSG).

17 May 2021. The market for mobility – one of the most important markets worldwide – is in a state of flux and is being restructured. With the establishment of an Institute for Mobility at the University of St.Gallen, this transformation is actively being monitored. Besides research, the institute’s activities particularly focus on the transfer of scientific insights into politics, the general public and practice.

The Institute for Mobility is intended to

  • advance the development of the “New Mobility” in society, practice and academia;
  • make a contribution towards internationally profiling Switzerland as a location for “New Mobility”; and
  • become one of the global thought leaders in the field of mobility.

The Institute for Mobility grew out of the Institute for Customer Insight and is run by Prof. Dr. Andreas Herrmann, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Jenewein and Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Torsten Tomczak. In the past, numerous cooperation ventures were conducted under the umbrella of the ICI-HSG with traditional mobility providers such as Volkswagen AG (VW, AUDI, Skoda, Porsche), BMW AG (BMW, MINI) and Mercedes Benz AG, as well as with other mobility providers such as the technical inspection association TÜV, the SBB, the Israeli provider of components for autonomous driving, Mobileye, Lufthansa and the Boston Consulting Group in fields such as autonomous driving, alternative drives, Mobility as a Service, multimodal mobility, sharing concepts, management as an enabler of innovation, as well as communication of innovations. More than 30 articles were published in FT journals and in further A journals, and more than 25 postdocs and doctoral students were placed in professorships at institutions of tertiary education. On the basis of this expertise, the ICI-HSG was able to entrench itself as a partner in international networks in the field of mobility, both in practice and in the academic world. Thus Prof. Dr. Andreas Herrmann is a visiting professor at the New Mobility institutions of the London School of Economics, the Stockholm School of Economics and Tongji University.

With the establishment of an autonomous institute which focuses on mobility, the past activities in the field of mobility are intended to be raised to the next level and intensified. The Institute for Mobility works in the following areas:

Multimodal mobility

The focus is on the satisfaction of the human need for modern, favourably priced and safe mobility. Mobility is based on the customer-activated service elements of various networks, motorised and non-motorised private transport, and public transport based on a timetable or used individually. Interaction between these networks, which are superimposed on each other, is crucial to the working order of mobility and thus of modern cultural and economic locations. Today, the optimisation of multimodality is part and parcel of any modern transport policy. Digitalisation, autonomous systems, new requirements created by Covid-19, new transport policy concepts in an age of scarce government funds have entailed supply-side changes which affect the overall system and result in disruptive changes to the existing transport system with its traditional distribution of tasks.

Transformation of mobility companies

The traditional mobility companies, whether in the automotive or aviation industry or in public transport, are facing the biggest challenges in their history. Thus in the automotive industry, for example – one of the most important industries for Switzerland and Germany – the combustion engine and the gearbox are being replaced by electric and hydrogen drives. Autonomous driving requires sensors, software and the internet. Cities are about to ban vehicles from their centres and to introduce multimodal transport systems. The possession of cars is being questioned. Mobility is being propagated as a service. All these developments require traditional mobility companies to fundamentally transform their business model and, concomitantly, their management and corporate culture.

Mobility behaviour in the “next normal”

The current crisis has revealed a vulnerability of our economic and possibly also our social system that had hardly been regarded as possible before. Although a final assessment is not possible yet, the way in which mobility is organised worldwide must be rethought. Therefore every debate about the new mobility does not only require answers to the specific configuration of future transport systems, but also a reflection on the impact of the present crisis on globalisation and the organisation of worldwide mobility that is connected with it.

Fascinating mobility

Mobility is not only about the transport of people and goods from one place to another. What is of great significance is people’s pure fascination with movement, no matter whether as the driver of a vehicle, a pilot of an aircraft, on a bike, in mountaineering, on the football ground or the tennis court, in the boxing ring, etc. People “move” as a consequence of a variety of motivations which arise from health considerations, fascination with technology, the urge to achieve top performance, the quest for the meaning of life, etc. It is for this reason that a Center for Sports Management is intended to be set up under the umbrella of the Institute for Mobility.

Image: Adobe Stock / David.Sch

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