Abstract for: A multi-method approach to develop dynamic hypotheses for systemic challenges in the Swiss freight transport system

Freight transportation sector in Switzerland is undergoing rapid changes. Developments such as decarbonization, digitalization of the consumer market, advances in powertrain technologies and innovative solutions in the supply chain have influenced the freight market. However, uncertainties about the potential impacts of these developments have shaped a variety of ideas among freight market actors. This paper tries to explore these uncertainties, and analyze potential challenges and solutions, by mapping the mental models of the primary stakeholders and transforming them into dynamic hypothesis. A multi-method approach is used for this transformation and defining strategic decision areas for the future of freight transport system in Switzerland. The method starts with semi-structured expert interviews, and uses ideas from the Grounded Theory approach to map the mental models and find the primary strategic areas. Then, Vester’s sensitivity model is used for impact analysis and identifying the main factors and dynamics within each strategic area, which results in developing a dynamic hypothesis. Then, Social Network Analysis is used to aggregate the impacts and quantify the properties of the main factors, which provides input for Causal Loop Diagramming (CLD).